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Probation and Parole: Similarities and Differences

probation and parole

If you potentially face either probation or parole, it’s vital to know the similarities and differences. What’s the real difference? How could it impact your case? Don’t let perplexing legal jargon take advantage of you! In today’s blog, we’ll review both the similarities and differences between probation and parole so that you can stay informed.

Probation and Parole Similarities

First, let’s review the similarities. It may seem like these terms get used interchangeably, as if they mean the same thing. That’s not the case. But there are some important similarities. These include:

  • Both serve as alternatives to incarceration.
  • Both involve supervision and require the offender to follow certain rules and guidelines.
  • And both mean that the offender has to submit to warrantless searches, without probable cause.

Probation vs. Parole

Second, Webster’s Dictionary defines “probation” as: “the action of suspending the sentence of a convicted offender and giving the offender freedom during good behavior under the supervision of a probation officer.” This means that a judge gives someone an opportunity to prove that they want to rehabilitate themselves. So, if the defendant does everything the judge requires, then they either will not be sent to prison to finish their sentence or they will be given a new sentence. Probation includes:

  • Following curfew rules.
  • Participating in rehab or education programs.
  • The defendant may have to submit regular drug tests.
  • A probation officer will supervise the defendant.
  • Probation can last between 1 and 10 years.

Parole vs. Probation

Third, Webster’s Dictionary defines “parole” as: “a conditional release of a prisoner serving an indeterminate or unexpired sentence.” In other words, after an offender has been released from prison, they have to prove that they have been rehabilitated. Therefore, parole can include:

  • Living in a halfway house.
  • Continuing to pay various court fees.
  • A parole officer will supervise the defendant.
  • A parole board, not a court, determines the conditions of parole.
  • Lastly, if the defendant violates parole, they do not have the option of a jury trial.

Need an Attorney?

Finally, if you’ve violated probation or parole, you still have rights that need to be protected! It’s important to know the difference between probation and parole. Contact Mark Catanzaro, your New Jersey probation and parole attorney, and he will defend you!


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