Probation is not incarceration, and for people with criminal convictions, probation is the preferred method of release from prison. Probation is usually defined as a period of supervised probation imposed by the judge rather than serving time in jail. While a person who has had his or her sentence to a full prison sentence is usually sent to jail, some jurisdictions allow probation as a sentencing alternative.

A Probation Sentence

Probation sentences are designed to be shorter and easier to follow as compared to prison sentences. However, it should be noted that the probation sentence will likely end once the defendant has completed his or her sentence, regardless of whether or not he or she is convicted of a new crime. A conviction for any other offense might also result in a reinstatement of the original sentence.


When considering whether to accept a plea deal, the courts may view a record of previous convictions as evidence of more serious crimes, which can only be dealt with at trial. This is why it is best to consult with a defense attorney to understand what sort of sentence in your case might entail. It can be difficult to prepare for a future that may not include having to answer questions about past convictions. This is especially true when you have spent years behind bars awaiting a trial.

Conditions of Probation

People who have served time on adult probation terms for violent offenses may be prohibited by law from owning guns or owning them while on probation. This is because criminals who own guns are more likely to commit crimes, and criminals who have been convicted of felony assault or homicide are much more likely to commit murder. This is because these types of crimes require victims to be injured or killed, and carrying a weapon while on probation could make a victim feel safer if a violent crime were to occur.

The Crime Dictates Probation Time

As in all areas of life, the severity of your probation terms is determined by many factors. The type of crime you committed is one of the most important. While there are many forms of crime, violent crimes are usually categorized as such. If you have been convicted of felony assault, for example, chances are you will face a longer or shorter sentence than someone who has committed property crimes such as theft or fraud. Be careful not to violate probation.


When choosing a local criminal attorney to meet with, ask about your probation sentence. While most jurisdictions do not require that the lawyer meet with you in advance of the initial meeting, this can help ensure that you are working with a professional who has dealt with a number of clients who are facing similar charges. There are some states that are known for setting their own rules, and procedures, and you may need to speak with a qualified legal representative to ensure that you understand what your particular state’s rules are.