Probation and parole are two common types of criminal offender supervision that are often confused due to similarities. Despite the fact that parole and probation have the same requirements, there are significant distinctions that make them different. The main difference between the two has to do with procedure. Probation is imposed by the court. It allows an inmate to remain in the community on the promise of a good behavior which is monitored by a probation officer. While parole is to be approved by a parole board after a hearing. It allows an inmate, who is already serving a criminal sentence behind bars, to be released from the jail either temporarily or permanently, before the completion of sentence.
Probation in California
In California, imprisonment can be suspended by probation. It is a widely used legal way to combine control with rehabilitation opportunities. The probation is granted by a judge or a judicial officer to an inmate, as long as the person meets certain conditions of behavior. It is allowed only for first-time offenders and crimes that do not involve violence.
When a convict is granted probation, he/she is not arrested but is allowed to stay in the community, provided that he/she adopts ethical conduct and will not commit any crime in future, otherwise he will be sent to jail. Depending on the severity and the type of the crime, the conditions of probation differ from fines, restrictions of drug and alcohol, to jail time or community services. California law permits two types of probation: formal and informal. The key difference between the two types of probation lies in the amount and type of supervision that a convict receives. Informal probation can be referred as a penalty for a misdemeanor, while formal probation is a typical penalty for a felony.
If a convict violates the probation, he/she will face a probation violation hearing. At the hearing, the court may decide to reaffirm the existing probation with the previous conditions, reaffirm it by changing the previous conditions or revoke the probation and send the convict to jail.
Parole In California
California parole law is ever-changing. As a rule, parole is granted to an inmate who has already served a part of his/her punishment in jail. The parole board sets forth the conditions in which an inmate is temporarily or permanently released from jail. The conditions generally include obeying the law, ensuring the safety of others, appearing before the parole officer is requested, avoiding contact with certain people and so on. The state of California only grants parole to a particular inmate in case the state is completely sure that the inmate is prepared to return – constructively and positively – to his or her community.
Being on parole, a convict will have to serve the community and comply with specific rules, otherwise, he/she will be sent back to jail. The inmates who are sentenced for life sentence are eligible for parole only after they serve a particular part of their sentence and the parole board finds them ready to live in a society with certain restrictions. The length of a parole depends on the type of the crime an inmate committed. On average, the parole terms are limited to 3-5 years, in some cases, it can last even for 10 years.
So, whether you are on parole or on probation, it is advised to follow all the conditions imposed by a supervisor in order to successfully complete your parole or probation. As soon as your probation or parole is completed, you may be able to have your California record cleared.
Whenever you are facing parole or probation, you should speak to a criminal defense attorney immediately, as you may face the possibility of losing your freedom due to a violation of probation or parole terms. The experienced and skillful criminal defense attorneys at the Margarian Law firm value your freedom. They have successfully represented clients and contested the revocation of probation and parole for years.