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Probation vs. Parole – The Differences Explained

Mount Holly Criminal Defense Attorney

If you find yourself confused about probation and parole, you’re not alone. These two alternatives to jail time are similar but have important differences. Both probation and parole require the party to follow certain rules and submit to warrantless searches.

When you are facing a criminal charge that could result in jail time, it is imperative that you retain an experienced criminal defense attorney in Mount Holly to protect your rights. Mark Catanzaro has been fighting for clients for nearly 30 years and is very successful in obtaining favorable results.


Probation is a sentencing alternative to incarceration. When a defendant is put on probation, a judge is giving him or her an opportunity to prove that they can rehabilitate themselves in the community under supervision of a probation officer rather than in jail.

Probation isn’t a free ticket out of jail – there are conditions by which you must abide if on probation. Common conditions include:

  • Report regularly to the probation officer
  • Remain in a specific geographic area
  • Submit to drug or alcohol tests at any time
  • Submit to warrantless searches by the probation officer at any time
  • Avoid criminal charges
  • Abide by curfew
  • Find and keep gainful employment
  • Avoid disreputable places and people
  • Cannot be in possession of weapons or firearms
  • Perform community service

While on probation, you are assigned a probation officer. This person is charge of supervising you and making sure you are adhering to the guidelines. He or she will report violations, such as positive drug tests, to the court. If the court determines that you violated probation, you may be sent to jail for the original crime plus face additional consequences for the violation.


Parole is different in that the defendant served time in jail but was released early and placed on parole. A prisoner in a New Jersey county jail becomes eligible for parole after serving the mandatory minimum or one-third of the sentence if no minimum is set. The defendant is assigned to a parole officer,  he or she is subject to the conditions set by the parole board instead of a court order. Required conditions are similar to those of probation, but they can vary depending on each particular case.

If a parolee violates the terms of his parole, he or she can face penalties imposed by the state. A hearing will be held to determine whether to revoke parole and return the individual back to prison to finish their term.

Hire Mark Catanzaro As Your Mount Holly Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have questions regarding New Jersey probation or parole, contact Mark Catanzaro today. A violation of either is a very complex matter to defend, and it is extremely important that you speak with the right attorney for such a case. Mark Catanzaro has an outstanding reputation and cares about the outcome of each case. Call today to set up a free consultation.


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Mt. Holly, New Jersey


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