Three ways to be placed on probation for a criminal offense
A defendant may be placed on probation for a criminal offense in one of three ways:
- The imposition of sentence is suspended, and the defendant is placed on probation.
- Sentence is imposed, but the execution of the sentence is suspended, and the defendant is placed on probation.
- The court sentences the defendant to probation.
Probation is one means of supervising a criminal defendant. The federal Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 created another form of supervision that has the worst features of probation and parole: supervised release. Unlike parole, supervised release does not reduce a criminal defendant’s period of incarceration. Unlike probation, supervised release does not replace imprisonment.
There is no parole for federal sentences. A defendant must serve his full term, minus a fifteen-percent reduction for good time. However, once released, he must serve a period of supervised release, usually ranging from three to five years. Should the defendant violate the conditions of that release, he can be incarcerated again.