Formal probation also known as supervised probation, is a sentence of community supervision ordered by a judge, usually instead of jail or prison, but may include a period of jail. It allows the convicted person to live in the community for a specified period of time under the supervision of a probation officer, subject to compliance with the general and special conditions of supervision. Formal probation is often used in felony cases and person-to-person misdemeanor cases.
Bench Probation is used when the sentencing Judge decides to supervises the defendant. Bench probation is most often, but not always, used in misdemeanor cases.