What is the Difference Between Probation and Parole?


Both probation and parole allow individuals convicted of a crime to remain living in their communities instead of serving time in jail or prison. Violations of the conditions of probation or parole can both result in individuals being incarcerated. However, probation and parole are distinct programs that may go into effect at different stages of a sentence for a criminal offense.

Probation is an alternative to jail or prison that a court may order as part of a sentence for a criminal conviction. While individuals are on probation, they can remain living at home as long as they comply with specific terms and conditions that the court sets. While conditions of probation differ from one case to the next, some common conditions of probation may include:

  • Working or going to school
  • Submitting to regular drug tests and refraining from drug and alcohol use
  • Following all laws
  • Meeting with a probation officer regularly

Probation can occur in many types of criminal cases, but it is a popular option for individuals who have little or no previous criminal history. Probation also may be available for those who have committed relatively low-level or minor criminal offenses. Once individuals complete probation, they have served their sentences, and they are no longer subject to any oversight by the court.

What is the Difference Between Probation and Parole?

Parole, on the other hand, is early release from prison for individuals who already have served some time in prison following a criminal conviction. When individuals are released on parole, they also are subject to specific terms and conditions that they must follow or risk returning to prison. In most cases, parole is granted to individuals who have exhibited good behavior while in prison. Parole can help relieve congestion at prisons and allow individuals to integrate back into society from prison more gradually.

If you or a family member is facing accusations of drug trafficking or any other criminal charges, we may be able to help. As experienced Texas criminal defense attorneys, we have the knowledge needed to help you navigate through often-complex criminal proceedings. Call us today at (512) 359-3362 and schedule an appointment with one of our criminal defense lawyers and learn how we can assist you.

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