When someone in Michigan is found guilty in criminal court, good behavior might lead to parole or probation. Although both aim to rehabilitate and prevent an offender from committing further crimes, there are distinct differences. Neither parole nor probation is a right — instead, both are privileges. One or the other may be awarded following considerations of various aspects related to those convicted of felonies, giving those individuals the opportunity to rehabilitate while living in their communities.
At the time of the initial sentencing, the court could grant probation instead of prison time, or after a limited period of jail time. The judge typically specifies activity restrictions that will be in place throughout the probation period. A probation agency that is administered by the state will play a supervisory role during the period of probation, and violations of the restrictions or conditions might result in the probation being revoked.
In contrast, parole does not replace prison time. It is typically granted after a convicted offender has served a significant part of his or her jail term. Good behavior might allow him or her to spend the balance of the sentence in the community. A parole officer is appointed to manage strict supervision, and like probation, violations of the terms can send parolees back to prison.
When a person in Michigan is accused of committing felonies, it is essential to retain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney from the outset. A lawyer can explain the difference between parole and probation, along with the conditions that the court might order. The attorney will devise a defense strategy that might lead to no or minimum jail time.