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The importance of avoiding violations of parole or probation

Being convicted of a criminal offense can mean serious penalties. Depending on the nature of an offense and the resulting sentence, a person could be sentenced to jail or placed on probation in lieu of all or some jail time. 

It can be easy to think that serving a sentence and being released or avoiding jail time altogether means that the penalties for an offense are over. But as too many people figure out the hard way, this is not true. It is not uncommon for a person who is on parole or probation to find themselves back in front of a judge for alleged violations of court-ordered conditions.

It is important to remember that parole and probation are not the same things. Probation is a criminal penalty that is ordered in place of some or all jail time that may have otherwise been ordered. Parole is early supervised release for a person who has been incarcerated.

The terms of probation and parole vary, but there are some similarities. People on probation and parole are expected to regularly check in with an officer, avoid drug and alcohol use and refrain from engaging in any unlawful activity.

People may also be required to pay a fee, secure employment or stay within the confines of an established area. 

Whether a person is on parole or probation, he or she can face enormous obstacles when it comes to staying in compliance with the required terms. Unfortunately, there are a number of people who fail to comply with these or other terms and can face penalties for a violation.

Depending on a person's criminal history, including the original offense for which he or she was sentenced, and the alleged violation, the courts could impose serious penalties, which can mean reinstating suspended sentences, extending length of supervision or sending a person to jail.

However, just as being accused of a crime does not mean a person is guilty of that crime, being accused of violating parole or probation does not mean a person is guilty of that violation. Every person has the right to speak with an attorney and have legal support during violation hearings. Avoiding additional penalties for an offense can be essential in rebuilding a life and keeping a criminal offense in the past.

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