Parole is the supervised release of a convicted criminal defendant after they have completed part of the prison sentence. Parole is based on the concept that the criminal can prove he is rehabilitated, and thus can contribute to society when released.
Parole generally has a specific period and terms, such as:
Reporting to a parole officer
Not associating with ex-convicts
Staying within certain geographic limits
Not getting into legal trouble
Violation of parole terms may result in revocation of parole and a return to prison to complete the sentence. A parole officer reports any violation to a Parole Commission. The Commissioner determines the appropriate sanctions, which can include:
- Imposing a fine
- Issuance of an arrest warrant
- Summons to appear at a hearing
In the event a hearing is required, the following two steps are typically the next events:
Depending on how parole is violated, the parolee may be taken into custody or summonsed to appear at a preliminary hearing. Failure to appear at any hearing warrants the Commission to revoke parole.
The hearing is scheduled within a reasonable time at or near the place of the alleged violation before an examiner or parole officer. This hearing is to determine whether the parolee should be held in custody pending a revocation hearing or be reinstated to supervision.
A parolee charged with a parole violation is given an opportunity to be before the Commission in a final hearing. At this final hearing, the Commission decides whether to continue or revoke parole. The only exception to this is if the parolee is convicted of a new offense, in which case parole is revoked without a hearing.
Ideally, a parolee will not need the assistance of a lawyer. However, things happen, and it’s usually better to be more advised than ill advised. A criminal defense lawyer in your area can advise you of your rights, and help you stay within the terms of your parole. If you are being charged with a parole violation, a lawyer can prepare your case, represent you at your interview and hearings, and present witnesses and evidence to establish your case.