Criminal Defense Lawyer | Probation vs. Parole

One of the most common questions a criminal defense lawyer gets is about the differences between probation and parole. People who haven’t been through the criminal justice system can easily confuse these two things, but they are very different. If you’ve been arrested and charged with a crime it is important that your lawyer explains to you the difference between probation and parole in South Carolina.

What is Probation?

Probation is a sanction ordered by the courts when a person has been found guilty of a crime; however, probation means the person does not go to jail and gets to stay in their community under the supervision of a probation officer. Probation is not an option for every defendant and criminals don’t have any rights to probation over jail time, but a criminal defense lawyer can help argue for probation and hope the judge is favorable. Probation can also include having to complete community service, restrictions on drugs, alcohol use, and weapons, restitution, fines, counseling, and possible jail time still.

What is Parole?

Parole is when criminals are released from prison before completing their entire prison sentence. A parole board, not a judge, makes the decisions on parole, and some statutes outline the provisions for parole as well. Parolees are often required to report regularly to a parole officer. The proceedings in parole cases are administrative, not criminal. Parole is usually capped to the length of the sentence so if a defendant was sentenced to 30 years in jail, they can be paroled for 30 years as well.

Violating your probation or parole can result in jail or prison time for defendants. A criminal defense lawyer is a defendant’s best option for not only defending their case, but helping their client understand their sentencing and the options available to them in the future with probation or parole.

If you’re in need of a criminal defense lawyer in Charleston, give the Law Office of Peter David Brown a call at 843-202-4548.