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What is the Difference Between Probation and Parole in California?


Parole and probation are similar in many ways, both being legal procedures relevant to criminal court cases, but their differences are important to understand. If you are serving a sentence, you may benefit from a successful parole hearing. Meanwhile, probation can be imposed by the judge in your California courtroom, effectively suspending sentencing of imprisonment in favor of a probation arrangement.

Probation can be useful for the criminal justice system’s problem with overcrowding in the prisons, but also there is evidence that reentering the community better serves rehabilitation. Under probation, the convicted will serve the remainder of their sentencing under strict supervision in a public setting, with a probation officer overseeing their progress.

Parole can be granted to inmates who have already served a portion of their sentence behind bars but after a hearing, it has been determined that they’ve been satisfactorily rehabilitated and can be released on parole.

How Does Probation Work in California?

So long as a convicted individual meets certain criteria – their crime cannot be severe, and they must be a first-time offender – a judge may decide to grant them probation instead of a lengthy prison sentence. A criminal defense lawyer may be able to successfully argue for probation.

If the convicted has already served time in prison on their charges, good behavior could result in the courts granting probation so that they may serve the remainder of their sentence in the community.

Probation requires reliable communication with a probation officer and limited movement about the city, county, or state.

How Does Parole Work in California?

Parole can be granted to a convict who has served a portion of their sentence in prison and has shown themselves to be a model inmate. A parole board will schedule a hearing and may determine the circumstances by which an inmate may be released permanently or temporarily. Parole is only granted to those whom the state believes are ready to helpfully contribute to society again.

While not everyone out on parole has a parole agent with whom they must remain in constant contact, all parolees must adhere to the strict rules of their release or else risk being returned to prison.

What Acts Are Considered Violations of Probation or Parole?

In the state of California, the violations of probation include but are not limited to:

  • Associating with known criminals.
  • Failure to appear in court.
  • Failure to complete community service.
  • Failure to complete counseling or other ordered treatments.
  • Failure to meet with your probation officer.
  • Failure to pass a drug test.
  • Failure to pay court-ordered fines.
  • Failure to stay employed.
  • Possession of contraband.
  • Traveling outside the city, county, or state without permission.
  • Violation of protective orders.
  • Violence or assault.

Contact our law firm at (949) 990-4195 for legal assistance today.

The post What is the Difference Between Probation and Parole in California? appeared first on Law Office of Diane C. Bass, A Professional Law Corporation.