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How do probation and parole differ?

On Behalf of | Jul 18, 2023 | Firm News

On your journey through the criminal justice system, you may hear or read legal terminology that seems the same or similar. “Parole” and “probation” are two terms that often confuse those seeking to overcome or reduce legal consequences.

Unfortunately, when you don’t know what the legal words and phrases you encounter really mean, it can impact your case before or after a conviction. If the terms parole or probation arise in discussions about your situation, it’s important to understand that they are two very different things.

What is probation?

Essentially, it is an alternative to a jail or prison sentence. Upon a criminal conviction, the court must decide how to punish the offense. Sometimes, judges order a prison term with or without a fine and additional penalties.

Other times, the court may determine that probation is the most appropriate punishment. Probation allows a person to remain free but with certain conditions, like not leaving the county or not associating with specific people.

What is parole?

By granting parole, courts authorize the release of convicted parties earlier than ordered. When they prove themselves deserving, offenders are sometimes released on parole even when they have considerable time remaining on their sentence.

Parole does not absolve someone or remove a conviction. It merely allows eligible parties to serve the rest of their sentence in the community instead of behind bars

Both have strict requirements

If you anticipate skating through a parole or probation period, you should understand that you may be under strict supervision. You must also comply with any associated instructions or conditions, or you could end up behind bars again.

If you are worried that your parole or probation privileges might be in jeopardy, learning how these services work in Maryland may help you avoid being incarcerated or reincarcerated.