What Is the Difference Between Parole and Probation?

If you commit a crime, you could face a range of consequences. The judge in your case will issue a sentence based on the circumstances of the offense, including the type of crime and its severity.

Probation and parole are common penalties for various criminal offenses in Indiana. However, most people don’t understand the difference.

Each has its own procedures and occurs during different stages of an individual’s sentencing.

The initial sentence can involve probation. A judge might decide you can serve probation instead of time in prison. Various restrictions and requirements come with a probation sentence.

On the other hand, parole happens after completing the initial sentence. There are also requirements and restrictions you must meet while on parole.

Elements of Probation

The court can order probation after finding a person guilty of specific offenses or infractions. There are two types of probation you could serve if the judge allows it. The first is a period of probation after serving part of the issued jail sentence. The other option is avoiding jail entirely by completing probation successfully.

Although probation is a common sentencing option, it’s not available for every criminal offense. Sometimes, the prosecutor won’t offer probation to the defendant because of the severe nature of the crime they committed.

When you’re on probation, you can continue to live in your community under the supervision of a probation officer or supervisor. The conditions of your probation will depend on the circumstances of the offense, your criminal history, and additional factors.

The most common conditions of probation include:

  • Paying fines and restitution for losses caused by the crime
  • Maintaining adequate employment
  • Completing a predetermined number of hours of community service
  • Staying away from specific locations within the community
  • Regularly reporting to the supervisor or probation officer
  • Avoiding an arrest or charge for another crime
  • Restricting weapon usage and possession
  • Serving some jail time with an option to complete probation after a specified period
  • Attending counseling for alcohol or drug abuse
  • Avoiding drugs and alcohol during the probation period

Even though you can avoid spending time behind bars, you still have to serve the required time during probation. That means you must meet all conditions of the term ordered by the court. For example, if the judge allows you to serve probation instead of a two-year jail sentence, you must follow all of the rules set forth during those two years.

If you violate any of the terms of your probation, you could face an extended probation period, additional conditions, and fines. A judge could even decide to revoke the probation and force you to serve your sentence in jail.

Elements of Parole

You could be eligible for parole after serving part of your required sentence in prison. This occurs if you have exhibited good behavior behind bars and avoided causing more trouble.

Typically, getting out of jail early for good behavior means you have shown the ability to change and become a productive member of society upon your release.

If you’re eligible for parole, you can serve the rest of your sentence living within your community but under the supervision of a parole officer. It is up to the state’s Parole Board to determine whether you deserve parole for the crime you committed.

While serving parole, you must meet specific conditions set by the parole board, much like probation. If you violate any of the terms that have been set, the parole board can revoke your parole and send you back to jail to serve your remaining sentence.

The conditions of your parole will depend on the type of offense you were convicted of and additional factors but could include:

  • Completing an anger management course
  • Wearing an ankle bracelet monitor
  • Attending court-ordered alcohol or drug counseling
  • Checking in with the parole officer regularly
  • Registering as a sex offender if found guilty of a sex crime
  • Refraining from possessing or using a firearm
  • Paying restitution to the victims
  • Accepting random home visits from the parole officer
  • Complying with specified curfews
  • Completing required mental health counseling or treatment
  • Living in transitional housing and only leaving with prior permission
  • Maintaining employment
  • Avoiding committing another criminal offense

Speak to an Experienced Indiana Criminal Defense Attorney

Five of the six Board-Certified* Criminal Law Specialists in Indiana work at The Criminal Defense Team. We have defended clients against various criminal charges since 2007. With more than 100+ years of combined experience, you can feel confident knowing you will receive the representation and services necessary to fight the charge you face.

When you hire The Criminal Defense Team, we will review the circumstances of the offense to determine if parole or probation is an option. We will be your advocate and work tirelessly to get the charges against you reduced or dropped entirely.

Call us at (317) 687-8326 for a confidential consultation if you were arrested or charged with a crime in Indiana.