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Whats the Difference Between Court Supervision, Conditional Discharge, and Probation?

If you plea guilty or are found guilty in a criminal case and you will typically receive one of three sentences: court supervision, conditional discharge, or probation. The type of sentence you receive will affect the requirements imposed on you during your sentence, what appears on your criminal record, your ability to expunge or seal your criminal record, and may even affect your right to own a firearm, drive a vehicle, or be present in certain locations.


Court Supervision

Court supervision is defined as “a disposition of conditional and revocable release without probationary supervision, but under such conditions and reporting requirements as are imposed by the court, at the successful conclusion of which disposition the defendant is discharged and a judgment dismissing the charges is entered.” Court supervision is not available for felony offenses.


Court supervision does not go on your record as a conviction. However, The fact that you did receive court supervision for a criminal offense may appear publically on your criminal record. If you successfully complete the conditions of your court supervision, your case may be expunged from your criminal record.


Conditional Discharge

Conditional discharge is defined as “a sentence or disposition of conditional and revocable release without probationary supervision but under such conditions as may be imposed by the court.”


A sentence of conditional discharge means that a conviction has entered against you and the court has imposed a period of monitoring. Typically, you are not actively monitored by any type of probation officer during conditional discharge. Conditional discharge is usually ordered when the court has required you to complete additional conditions for your sentence, such as community service. If you have completed the requirements of your sentence by the end of your conditional discharge, the court will typically close out your case. If you have not completed the terms of your sentence by the end of your conditional discharge, the state’s attorney may request to resentence you.


Probation

Probation is defined as “a sentence or disposition of conditional and revocable release under the supervision of a probation officer."


A probation officer may require you to check-in with them, submit to drug tests, or attend counseling. If you do not comply with the terms set forth by your probation officer, the state’s attorney may request to resentence you.


Conclusion

Court supervision, conditional discharge, and probation are not the only sentences available in criminal cases, but they are the most common. There are some offenses that will allow for modified versions of court supervision, conditional discharge, and probation. It is important to consult with an attorney to review the implications of any criminal sentence.


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