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What is the difference between parole and probation?

Florida Criminal defense attorneys are often asked about parole and probation and unfortunately, many folks simply confuse the same and believe they are the same. The two are very different and distinct, but have some similar implications.

Probation is an alternative sentencing that allows a person convicted of an offense to not have to be incarcerated. A person that receives probation will not serve jail time, but will have to follow certain conditions during the probationary period. There will be general conditions and special conditions that a person must abide by. A person on probation will report to a probation officer pursuant to FL Statute 948.01. Many individuals choose probation over jail or prison sentences to only learn that probation is very difficult and costly to successfully complete. Ultimately, someone on probation still faces the maximum amount of time in jail that they did in the underlying charge. For example, someone on probation for a third degree felony, which has a maximum of five (5) years in prison, faces the same sentence on a violation of probation.

Parole is an option AFTER someone has been sentenced to jail time. If a person has served a portion of his or her sentence and has displayed good behavior during while serving, then he or she could be eligible for parole. Parole, like probation, allows a person to serve out his or her sentence while not incarcerated. According to FL Statute 947.18, eligibility for parole is more than just good behavior and serving part of a jail sentence; the parole commission must believe that the person will live and conduct him or herself “as a respectable and law-abiding person.” Parole, like probation, will have certain conditions a person will have to follow. If a person violates parole, then his or her parole could be revoked and he or she may be forced to return to jail and serve the remainder of his or her sentence in jail. Ultimately, parole has been abolished in Florida, people are no longer placed on parole.

For more questions regarding parole or probation, contact the experienced criminal attorneys of Hackworth Law for a free case consultation. We look forward to serving you.  

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