Parole is typically granted to prisoners who are released from prison before their term has expired. The majority of people sentenced to prison do not serve the entirety of their sentence since state law will allow inmates to reduce their time by good behavior.
In other instances, prisoners are eligible to be released before the expiration of their term according to the provisions of their sentences, and will appear before a parole board that examines their offense, past record, conduct while incarcerated, and any attempts at rehabilitation.
If the inmate is released, he or she will be assigned a parole officer and must report to him or her upon release. As a parolee, you will be subject to certain conditions, which include lawful behavior or the committing of no further crimes. Often, the conditions of parole can be onerous such as the following:
- Reporting to your parole officer at regularly scheduled dates and times
- Advising your parole officer of your address and any new address before you move
- Being subject to unannounced searches without a warrant at any time
- Advising your parole officer of new employment
- Getting permission or a travel pass to leave the county or state temporarily
- Advising your parole officer if you receive any tickets or if you are arrested
- Agreeing to waive extradition if you are found out-of-state without permission
- Inability to own or possess a firearm
- Mandatory attendance at a treatment center for addiction, mental health or other treatment facility
- No use of controlled substances
- Submission to drug testing at any time
- No contact with the victim of the crime for which you were convicted
A failure to abide by any of these conditions can be grounds for a parole violation and your return to prison.
Penalties and Parole Hearings
Generally, a parole violation means that you may have to serve the remainder of your sentence. If you committed another crime, you could serve that sentence along with your original sentence, or consecutively. In other words, once your original sentence term is served in its entirety, you immediately start serving the term on the new charge. In other cases, the two terms might be served concurrently, or at the same time.
You can be arrested if your parole officer has probable cause to believe that you violated some condition of your parole, and a representative from the parole board can issue a warrant for your arrest.
Further, your parole officer can have you arrested if he or she has probable cause to believe you may commit a crime or might leave the jurisdiction and they may have you held in custody without bail pending a parole revocation hearing.
Your case will be heard by a hearing officer appointed by the State Parole Board’s Revocation Hearing Unit. Unfortunately, a parole violation does not give you the right to a jury trial and the standard of proof is not that of “beyond a reasonable doubt.” The hearing officer will determine if there is “clear and convincing evidence” that you violated one or more of the parole conditions, and whether the violation was serious enough to revoke your parole and send you back to prison to serve the remainder of your prison term, or if new parole conditions should be set.
Retaining a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are arrested on a parole violation, you should immediately contact a criminal defense lawyer. While in custody, do not give any statements or talk to anyone about the details of your alleged violation despite any promises of leniency or that you will be released.
Your freedom is at risk if you are arrested. You may have a criminal defense lawyer at your parole revocation hearing to argue on your behalf.
Often, parolees are confused about the conditions of their parole such as curfew times, appointment dates or times, or issues or events on which the parolee needs to advise the parole officer. Your defense attorney can present these arguments in the best possible light.
Unintentional violations can occur as a result of missing a child support or restitution payment due to financial hardship. You may have inadvertently associated with felons, missed an appointment with your parole officer or at your treatment facility, or mistakenly left a designated geographical area from which you were prohibited from leaving without permission.
A criminal defense attorney can ensure that your rights are protected at these hearings and that any allegations are sufficiently proved. He or she can explore defenses and offer mitigating or alternatives that may save you from further prison time.
Possible alternatives to returning you to prison can include enrollment in a drug or alcohol program, anger management treatment or an in-home GPS monitoring program. If you failed to pay restitution payments, your attorney may be able to negotiate a more reasonable payment schedule.
If you have been arrested for violating your parole, we want to hear from you.