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Probation and parole may be alternatives to being put behind bars in a state or local correctional institution. However, these legal terms cannot be used interchangeably. Continue reading to learn the key difference between the two and how an experienced Morristown criminal defense lawyer at Graves Andrews, LLC can help you avoid violating either order.

What is the key difference between probation and parole?

On the one hand, probation is a type of supervision and reform system ordered in place of a jail or prison sentence. The New Jersey criminal court may grant you this privilege if this is only your first-time criminal offense or if you were found guilty of a lower-level criminal offense (i.e., a fourth-degree crime or disorderly persons offense). With this, your behavior may be monitored by a probation officer. Such monitoring may entail random drug and alcohol testing, mandatory use of a GPS ankle monitor, scheduled meetings with the officer, and more.

Parole is similarly a supervision and reform system. It also similarly entails being under the watchful eye of a parole officer and whatever comes with that. However, the key difference is that the court may order parole only after serving a part of your sentence at a state or local correctional institution. This is typically based on whether you exhibited good behavior while in jail or prison, and whether you can return to the community without posing a danger. In other words, probation may replace the time you need to serve away from the community, while parole may shorten it.

What happens if there is a violation of probation versus parole?

Even though a key difference exists between probation and parole, the consequences of violating these orders may be the same. Say, for instance, that your probation or parole officer has grounds to believe without a reasonable doubt that you have majorly or frequently violated the terms and conditions of your probation or parole, respectively. Well, this may prompt them to exercise their authority to arrest you and incarcerate you pending a probation or parole revocation hearing.

If the outcome of your probation revocation hearing is poor, an officer may reactivate your jail or prison sentence. In the case of a negative parole revocation hearing, an officer may send you back to jail or prison without the eligibility for parole ever again. At the very least, an officer may adjust the terms and conditions of your probation or parole to be stricter or otherwise better suited to your special needs.

So, if you have been accused of a probation or parole violation, what is best for you is likely strong legal representation from a skilled Morristown criminal defense lawyer. Someone at Graves Andrews, LLC is looking forward to your phone call.