What is the difference between probation and parole?
I often get asked this question. Parole no longer exists in the federal system, it no longer exists in the Florida State system. Many states have done away with it, not all, but many.
Parole is the supervised period after you’ve served time. In federal court it’s now called, supervised release and the federal laws mandate certain periods of supervised release after a felony conviction. Probation is typically what happens when you are able to avoid serving time in custody and you’re sentenced to a period of supervision or supervised release, that’s probation.
What’s important is not the label however, what’s important is that you comply with all the terms of your supervised release or of your probation, if not you can be subject to violations. Violations are very, very serious and a lot of judges view them more serious than the initial crime because they figure, listen you got a break, your on probation, your on supervised release, now you commit another crime and they really look to hurt you. In addition when you’re on probation or supervised release you have fewer rights than a person who is not. For example in the area of search and seizure, your home, your car is subject to search without probable cause being necessary. Where as if you’re not on probation or supervised release police need consent or probable cause in order to search your home or your car.