Can a person be put on probation without being convicted of any kind of crime? While in court for the accusation of a crime.

  • 1
    Where? The law and legal terminology are not uniform in every country and law making jurisdiction.
    – ohwilleke
    Jan 4 at 18:02

2 Answers 2


No. The word "probation" is used only to refer to a type of sentence imposed after conviction.

However, when a person is not yet convicted, they may be released. For most offences, the default is that the person must be released without conditions unless the Crown (prosecution) shows detention or conditiond are necessary.

This release is known under various terms:

  • judicial interim release
  • pre-trial release
  • bail

The conditions (if any) that are imposed during pre-trial release are often similar to conditions that can be imposed during probation.


Probation is the situation where fines and imprisonment following from a conviction are suspended. A typical shoplifting probation sentence has the defendant plead guilty or nolo contendere, then after the requisite period has passed with no intervening arrests the conviction can be vacated and the record expunged. It is not possible for a judge to declare a person guilty without a trial or their pleading guilty.

  • 1
    Deferred prosecution exists in some jurisdictions and while not technically probation, it would be hard for a lay person to distinguish it from probation.
    – ohwilleke
    Jan 4 at 18:26

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