What Is the Difference Between Parole and Probation?

You face a range of penalties when you commit a criminal offense in Texas. The judge can sentence you based on state guidelines and the circumstances of the crime.

Parole and probation are two punishments the court could issue after a conviction of specific crimes. Although many people use the terms interchangeably, they’re different types of sentences. They occur at different times of an offender’s sentencing and follow separate procedures.

An initial conviction for a crime can result in probation. Instead of imprisonment, you could end up serving probation. You must follow all conditions set by the judge to complete probation successfully. If you violate any terms of your sentence, you could end up behind bars.

You must serve part of your prison sentence before you’re eligible for parole. If you exhibited good behavior and showed that rehabilitation is possible, you could get out of jail early. If you’re granted parole, you must serve the rest of your sentence under a parole officer’s supervision.

Common Conditions of Parole

parole vs probationWhen you complete part of your initial prison sentence, you might be eligible for parole. The parole board could grant you an early release if you avoided getting into trouble and proved you could become a productive member of society. You must exhibit your ability to change and acclimate to life outside of prison.

Upon your release, you can serve your remaining sentence living in your community. A parole officer will supervise you and ensure that you’re meeting the conditions of your parole. If you violate any of the terms the parole board sets, they could send you back to jail or extend your initial sentence.

A range of factors will determine the conditions you must meet while serving parole. The most common conditions include that you:

  • Are prohibited from possessing a firearm
  • Complete an anger management course
  • Have random home visits by a parole officer
  • Wear an ankle monitor to track your whereabouts
  • Pay restitution to any victims of the offense
  • Live in transitional housing and obtain permission when you want to go out
  • Register as a sex offender if convicted of a sex crime
  • Attend court-ordered drug or alcohol counseling
  • Maintain adequate employment
  • Check in with your parole officer regularly
  • Complete any required mental health treatment or counseling
  • Avoid an arrest or charge for another offense during the parole sentence
  • Follow all curfews set by the parole board

Common Conditions of Probation

probation versus paroleProbation is available if the court finds a person guilty of certain crimes. You could be eligible for one of two types of probation:

  • Complete probation successfully and avoid imprisonment
  • Serve part of the sentence behind bars and the remaining sentence on probation

Probation isn’t an option for every criminal offense committed in Texas. The severe nature of a crime could prohibit an offender from receiving probation instead of imprisonment.

Probation allows you to live within the community while following all conditions set by the court and under supervision by a supervisor or probation officer.

Common conditions you must follow while on probation include:

  • Avoid participating in criminal activity
  • Complete community service hours
  • Attend counseling for drug or alcohol abuse if necessary
  • Pay fines and restitution for any losses you caused while committing the offense
  • Avoid possessing or using a firearm
  • Maintain employment throughout the probationary period
  • Serve part of your sentence in prison with an option to complete probation after a predetermined amount of time
  • Avoid entering specific areas of your community
  • Avoid alcohol and drug use
  • Report to a probation officer or supervisor regularly

Despite never seeing the inside of a prison cell, you’re still under strict supervision during probation. You must follow all terms the court sets for you while serving your sentence. If you violate any of the conditions, the court could impose additional requirements, extend the period of probation, issue fines, or send you back to jail.

Contact Us

At the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter, we understand the overwhelming reality of a criminal conviction. It can affect your family, job, reputation, and future. Spending time in prison often causes mental and emotional strain. It’s a challenging experience for anyone to go through.

You might be eligible for parole or probation, depending on the type of crime you committed and the circumstances involved. Our legal team can represent you in your case and fight for a sentence that allows you to avoid imprisonment. You can count on us to be your advocate and work hard to try to reach your desired outcome.

If you were arrested or charged with a crime in Texas, do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter. A dedicated and experienced Dallas criminal defense lawyer can review the facts of your case and determine whether you’re eligible to serve your sentence on probation or parole. Call us at (214) 845-7007 right now for your free consultation.

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