In the world of criminal law, there are two ways that jail or prison time can be reduced or even avoided completely. These are probation and parole. However, while they are similar concepts, they are not the same in the state of Texas. Understanding these two terms is important for ensuring a positive outcome for your criminal court case, so we’ll break them down and clearly define each of them below.

What Is Parole?

Parole only applies to those who have already been convicted, sentenced and begun serving their sentence in prison. If that inmate shows good behavior and/or has completed a certain amount of time on their original sentence, parole can allow them to get out of incarceration before their sentence is up and serve the remainder of their sentence in the community. However, it is not a simple “get out of jail free” card. There are requirements here, such as:

  • You will need to report to your parole officer regularly.
  • You will need to meet all requirements and conditions of your parole, which can include:
    • Avoiding certain people, locations or situations
    • Wearing a monitoring device
    • Limiting your movements to home and work
  • You will need to avoid committing additional crimes
  • You will need to avoid contact with other offenders
  • Pay fees
  • Random drug testing

If the parolee violates the terms of their parole, it will be revoked and they will be returned to incarceration.

What Is Probation?

While the term probation sounds a bit similar to parole, it’s very different. Probation occurs before, or in lieu of, jail time. In a situation involving probation, you will go before a judge, and he or she will sentence you to a specific period of court-ordered supervision. You will likely also be responsible for paying a fine and court costs, although the amount will vary based on your offense.

Like parole, probation comes with terms that must be abided by. Otherwise, you face having your probation revoked and going to jail. The terms of probation vary significantly from case to case, but can include things like:

  • Finding and maintaining a job
  • Reporting to probation at least once per month
  • Not associating with certain people
  • Getting your education
  • Completing community service
  • Passing random drug tests
  • Taking classes related to the offense charged, such as drug education, thinking for a change, or DWI offender course.
  • Pay fees such as reporting fee, restitution, drug testing, fines, and court costs

You can think of your probationary period as a time set aside for you to show the judge that you are capable of changing your ways and rehabilitating yourself. However, note that probation is usually reserved for low-level offenders who pose little risk to the community as a whole.

There is also the possibility of going through what is called deferred adjudication. This process is essentially probation with the possibility of the crime being omitted from your record if you successfully complete your probationary period.

If you are facing criminal charges, it is vital that you have the right help. Get in contact with us at the Law Offices of Sharita Blacknall. Sharita has years of experience representing clients facing criminal charges in the state of Texas and will help ensure the best possible outcome for your case. Call today at 214-678-9111.