What Is the Difference Between Probation & 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 serve 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, you're on probation, you're 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. Whereas if you're not on probation or supervised release, police need consent or probable cause in order to search your home or your car.