What is the Difference Between Probation and Parole in Arizona?

People who aren’t familiar with the criminal justice system don’t understand the difference between probation and parole. They throw the two terms around interchangeably. In reality, these two things are very different indeed. Probation is something that comes before you go to jail or prison. If you’re convicted of a crime, the prosecutor may agree to probation rather than a prison sentence. Parole, on the other hand, comes after you’ve served some or all of your prison sentence. If your behavior in prison is commendable, the parole board may feel it’s time to release you. In either case, you’ll want an experienced Arizona criminal lawyer there by your side.

Here, we’ll discuss the differences between probation and parole. Ideally, you’ll never have to worry about either of these things. But things happen and we all make mistakes. If that mistakes lands you in jail, you need to call an Arizona criminal lawyer right away.

Probation Isn’t Typically an Option for a Serious Crime or Felony

If you’re charged with a minor offense, there’s a good chance your Arizona criminal lawyer can convince the State to put you on probation. The courts and criminal justice system can’t afford to throw every criminal defendant in jail. The jails are crowded. It’s very expensive to house someone in a jail or prison. The courts would rather offer those low-risk offenders the chance to go on probation instead.

With probation, you get to go home after your criminal conviction. The judge will outline the conditions of your probation. You will be assigned a probation officer who will monitor your behavior. As long as obey the terms of your probation, you won’t have to worry about going to jail or prison.

What Happens if You Don’t Honor the Terms of Your Probation or Parole?

If you violate the terms of either probation or parole, you’re going to end up right back in jail. Probation and parole both offer you a second chance. If you squander this opportunity, the judge isn’t going to have any pity on you. The only hope you’ll have is by having a skilled Arizona criminal lawyer there to argue on your behalf. They’ll do their best to convince the court that your violation was nothing more than an error in judgment or a miscommunication.

Your Arizona Criminal Lawyer Will Push for Probation Instead of Jail Time

If you’ve been charged with a serious crime, there’s a good chance you’ll be going to jail. Of course, it all depends on the facts of your case. If you’re only charged with a misdemeanor and have a clean criminal record, the court may agree to probation. This means that, instead of going to jail, you’ll be out on the streets. You’ll just have to follow the conditions of probation.
If you’ve been convicted with a serious crime such as murder or rape, the court isn’t going to give you probation. Your best hope is that, at some point during your sentence, the parole board will see fit to let you out early. You’ll definitely want an Arizona criminal lawyer there to assist at your parole hearing. These opportunities don’t come around often, so you want to make sure you get it right the first time.

Contact a Seasoned Arizona Criminal Lawyer Right Away

Whether you’ve been charged with a serious crime or are facing violation of parole charges, you need help. This isn’t the kind of thing you can handle on your own. It’s better to have a seasoned Arizona criminal lawyer there by your side. If you haven’t been convicted of any crime yet, your attorney will try to get the charges reduced or dismissed. If you’ve been charged with a violation of probation or parole, it’ll be a bit harder. When the court decides to give you a break, the last thing you want to do is take advantage of it. Judges do not look kindly on people who do not make the most of their second chance.

If this is the kind of situation you’re facing, call and talk to one of our Arizona criminal lawyers right away. It will be difficult if not impossible to beat the violation of parole charges. However, your attorney can at least try to explain the circumstances. Perhaps you didn’t realize your behavior constituted a violation. Or maybe your parole officer exaggerated the facts. Either way, you have a much better chance of receiving leniency if you have a skilled attorney by your side.