Probation in Michigan: What You Need To Know (Part 1)

hand tied with rope

Probation may feel restrictive, but it’s better than jail time.


Many people have questions about being on probation in Michigan, and about what it means to violate one’s probation. Because there seems to be so much confusion about this subject, and because we believe that the more you know, the better you can prepare for all eventualities, we compiled this list of common questions and answers about probation in Michigan. We hope this is helpful to you.


What’s the difference between probation and parole?

Probation and parole are both considered to be alternatives to incarceration. However, the difference is that probation occurs prior to, after, and sometimes instead of jail time, while parole only happens when someone is released from prison early.  


People on parole and on probation are both supervised by law enforcement personnel called probation agents, probation officers or parole agents. They are also expected to submit to warrantless searches without probable cause and to follow certain rules and guidelines. These guidelines are referred to as conditions of parole, or probation conditions. Violating these conditions usually results in punishment, which could mean ending up back behind bars.


Who supervises people on probation?

People on probation and parole in Michigan are both supervised by the Michigan Department of Corrections Field Operations Administration. Each individual who is put on probation in Michigan is assigned to a probation officer who checks up on them, and ensures that they are following the rules.


Parole Agents coordinate needed services for the offender such as mental health treatment, substance abuse counseling, housing and employment. Probation officers supervise offenders who are convicted of certain misdemeanors and felonies. It is their job to ensure that the probationer complies with a specific court’s probation order. Unlike parole, where the conditions are the same throughout the state, the conditions of probation are set by the court where a defendant is assigned to probation.  


If you get probation, do you avoid jail completely?

The answer to this is ‘no.’ However, there is no fixed rule regarding how the court may assign probation. In some cases a defendant may be sentenced to a term of probation only, or the court may choose to sentence a defendant to a term of probation in combination with jail time. Jail, as a condition of probation, can be served immediately, or can be ordered at the end of probation. In most cases, jail time meant to be served at the end of probation is waived if the defendant is found to be in compliance with the conditions of their probation for a long period of time.


Join us next time, as we continue this question and answer session about probation in Michigan, and take a look at what violations of probation conditions could mean for you. Until then, if you or a loved one have been charged with a crime in Michigan, or are in need to legal help to deal with a probation or parole related problem, contact our office immediately at 866-766-5245.


The skilled criminal defense attorneys at The Kronzek Firm have decades of experience helping people from all over mid-Michigan who have been accused of crimes. We understand that for each client we represent, this experience may be the single most important event they endure. As such, we treat every client’s case as if it were the most important case we have ever handled. However, speed is critical in these types of situations. So don’t wait! Contact us today. We are here to help.

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