Probation, Jail, or Prison?
Knowing the consequences of your case is an important part of deciding which plea offer you want to take, if any. Our attorneys ensure that our clients understand their options before agreeing to any plea bargain. Call us at to schedule an appointment so that we can help you understand your options. Here’s some useful information to get you started:
What is the difference between deferred adjudication and straight probation?
The main difference between deferred adjudication and straight probation is whether you have the possibility to avoid a conviction on your record.
For someone taking a deferred adjudication offer, the accused person and attorney appear before a judge and ultimately enter a plea of guilty. Though the judge finds the evidence sufficient to find the person guilty, the judge defers that guilt and places the person on probation for a period of time. If probation is completed successfully, the case is dismissed. Further, depending on the type of case, the person may be eligible for a nondisclosure, which helps conceal the case on the person’s record. But if the person fails to complete probation, the State through the help of the probation department can file a motion to proceed to adjudication. This usually means that a warrant will be issued for the person’s arrest, and a hearing will be held on whether the person should be finally convicted of the offense that he or she pled guilty to originally. If the judge finds the violations to be true, the person faces the full range of punishment for the original offense, which may result in jail or prison time.
Straight probation differs from deferred adjudication because the person has a conviction for the underlying offense no matter what. The benefit that some see in taking straight probation is that it keeps him or her from going to jail or prison. However, the same “revocation” process applies to straight probation as it does to deferred adjudication: If the judge finds the violations to be true, the person faces the full range of punishment for the original offense, which may result in jail or prison time.
What are the Pros and Cons of Probation versus Jail time?
When negotiating a plea agreement, a prosecutor may offer a jail offer and a probation offer, if eligible. A pro to probation is that it allows an individual to avoid going to jail or prison. For those who receive a deferred probation offer, it also prevents a final conviction if completed successfully. However, probation usually lasts longer than the jail offer, requires fees, classes, or other judge-ordered conditions which can be costly and time-consuming. Moreover, should the person violate conditions of probation, the punishment is often harsher on a revocation than an original plea.
The pro to jail time is that most counties allow a form of “work-release” or weekend jail. This allows individuals who have a jail sentence to serve their time overnight or on the weekends so that her or she can continue working. Though the court must approve of the schedule, most courts are flexible with work schedules so long as the person keeps consistency until the sentence is served. The obvious negative to jail time is that it results in a final conviction. Further, most people do not want to stay in custody away from friends, family, and work for a prolonged period of time.
What is the difference between a Motion to Revoke and a Motion to Proceed?
A Motion to Revoke pertains to someone who pled guilty and ordered to a straight probation and has been accused of violating the terms and conditions of that probation. A Motion to Proceed pertains to someone who pled guilty and ordered to a deferred probation and has been accused of violating the terms and conditions of that probation. Though both proceedings are similar in nature, the consequences of each are different.
What is the difference between jail and prison?
Jail is run through counties and municipalities and is intended to hold inmates who are sentenced to one year or less. Prison is state or federally run and usually holds inmates who are serving sentences with more than one year of sentencing.
What is parole?
Parole is the release of an individual in jail or prison before the completion of a sentence due to good behavior. Whether or not an individual is released on parole is a decision left to the parole board.
What does it mean to plea “no contest?”
A “no contest” plea means the accused does not admit guilt, but also does not contest the charges against him or her.
What is “Labor Detail?”
Some counties offer labor detail as an alternative to jail time for people whose sentences are to be served in the county jail. Those on labor detail are often required to provide some physical labor at least one day a week until the sentence is complete.
Do I qualify for Labor Detail?
It depends. Labor detail is only offered to those who are sentenced to one year or less in the county jail. Additionally, there are some offenses, such as DWI, that certain judges will not allow labor detail on. It is best to talk to you attorney before entering a plea to determine the likelihood of the judge granting labor detail.