What is the Difference Between Probation and Parole?



If you are sentenced to probation, you have been given a sentence with lesser jail time than usual because you may be a first time offender, and a probation time period is attached to the sentence which indicates that any violation of the probation will require you to serve out the full jail term. There may be no jail time to serve unless you violate the conditions of the probation (i.e., you have been sentenced to five years probation and you are released with the caveat that if you violate the terms of the probation, you will be remanded to custody to serve out a full five year jail term).


You have been tried and found guilty of a crime. Your sentence may contain a provision that after a certain amount of time has been served, and you have been a “model” prisoner, you may be eligible for parole, which allows you to be released from prison “before” the full term of your sentence has been served (i.e., you have been sentenced to 20 years with the possibility of being released on parole after serving 10 years of your sentence). However, you would have to go before a parole board that will determine your eligibility, and once released, if you violate the terms of your parole, you will be returned to prison to serve out the remainder of your sentence.

Violation of Probation

When the court sentences you to probation, there will be certain terms/conditions of your probation that you will have to follow. Not adhering to these conditions constitutes a “violation” and there will be certain consequences as a result. Depending on the nature and severity of the violation, the penalty may run the gambit from:

  • A heavy fine;
  • Extended probation;
  • Jail time; or
  • A combination of jail time and fine.

There are a number of ways you can violate your probation, namely:

  • Failure to appear at a schedule hearing date;
  • Failure to report to your probation officer as scheduled;
  • Failure to pay any required fines as ordered by the court;
  • Ignoring a court’s condition that you not visit certain places or communicate with certain people, or travel out of state without your probation officer’s permission;
  • Using, possessing or selling any controlled substance;
  • Committing another crime while on probation;
  • Being arrested for any other reason.

If you have received a “warning” or request to appear in court to answer a charge of “violation of probation,” your first step should be to contact your attorney as soon as possible. Probation officers have broad discretion in charging an individual with a violation of probation and will have some sway in the court’s determination of the penalty.

If you have been notified of a “probation violation” charge, it is extremely important that you know your rights when going into a hearing on the charges. In general, you have a right to receive written notice, to be heard by a neutral judge, to be represented by an attorney, and to be allowed to president evidence to refute any claims being presented against you. Illinois Criminal Law on Probation

You Will Need an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney on Your Side

If accused of a crime, it is important that you know what your rights are, and how to protect them. The need for an experienced criminal defense attorney begins with the charge and arrest. Knowing your rights is the first step in the process and continues thereafter through a possible trial to acquittal or sentencing. If you are being charged with any crime, including murder, sexual assault or battery, and would like to discuss all of the potential defenses available to you, call the Law Offices of David Freidberg today, at (312) 560-7100, or send an email, for a no-obligation consultation.

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