Revocation Hearings

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 What Is a Revocation Hearing?

In legal terms, a revocation hearing can refer to either a probation revocation hearing or a parole revocation hearing. As such, a revocation hearing is a court hearing before a criminal judge in which the judge decides whether or not to revoke an individual’s probation or their parole. If the individual’s parole or probation is revoked, then they may face serious jail time.

It is important to note that a person is legally allowed to contest the revocation of their parole or probation in most cases. If a person chooses to do so, it will result in a contested revocation hearing. At a contested revocation hearing, the person who is subject to parole or probation will deny the violations of their parole or probation and challenge the allegations.

At the hearing, the state prosecution will have to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the person did in fact violate the terms of their parole or probation. Then, if the violation is proven, the judge will then determine the sanctions or criminal sentence.

What Is a Probation Violation?

In order to understand what constitutes a probation violation, one must first understand what probation is. In short, probation is an alternative form of criminal sentencing that allows an individual that is convicted of a crime to avoid imprisonment. Thus, if a person receives probation during the criminal sentencing phase, instead of the person being sentenced to confinement at a local or federal prison, the person will instead be released back into the public.

It is important to note that criminal judges are allowed to place certain requirements on a person that is under probation. In fact, the requirements of probation may include that the individual following a certain set of rules and standards, such as:

  • Remaining within a certain area or wearing an electronic tracking device, such as an ankle monitor;
  • Maintaining a certain curfew;
  • Maintaining or attempting to find gainful employment;
  • Performing specified hours of community service;
  • Performing random drug screenings at the order of the court;
  • Reporting to a probation officer daily or periodically; and/or
  • Not committing any further crimes or associating with persons known to have committed crimes.

It is important to note that if an individual does not follow the rules and conditions of their probation, then their original criminal sentence may be reinstated by the criminal court judge at the revocation hearing. This means that a violation of probation laws could result in the person that originally received probation serving out their criminal sentence, such as by going to jail.

In general, a probate violation will be reported to the court by the probation officer that the person on probation is to report to. Then, if the individual has violated the terms of their probation, a revocation hearing may occur if the judge decides to hold one.

What Is a Probation Revocation Hearing?

Once again, when a person violated the terms and conditions of their probation, then the criminal court will be notified and the judge will then decide whether or not to hold a probation revocation hearing. A probate revocation hearing is the hearing in which the judge will decide whether or not to revoke probation for an individual, as well as what criminal sanctions and sentences to then impose upon them.

At the probation revocation hearing, the person that is subject to the probation will be ordered to explain how and why they violated the terms of their probation. That person’s probation officer, as well as the prosecutor, will be present at the hearing in order to provide evidence to the criminal judge as to whether or not the terms of the probation were in fact violated.

Once again, a person may choose to contest the allegations that they violated the terms of their parole. This means that the person may plead with the judge and offer evidence that they did not in fact violate the terms of their probation. This can be accomplished by presenting testimony or letters from loved ones, supervisors at work, or other community members that may have been a witness to the person’s conduct and actions.

Often, when an individual is first sentenced at a criminal trial, the judge will sentence them to a set amount of time in prison. Then the judge will suspend the execution of that criminal sentence, and instead offer the alternative sentence of probation.

If a person is placed on probation, and if they do well and not violate the terms of said probation, then they will never have to serve the criminal sentence that was imposed. However, if they violate the terms of their probation, and their probation is subsequently revoked, then they will be forced to serve that original criminal sentence.

What Is the Three-Part Process of Probation Revocation?

As mentioned above, there is a process to revocation hearings. Specifically, the probation revocation process happens in three parts:

  1. The Preliminary Hearing: First, a preliminary hearing will be held to determine whether or not there is actual probable cause to believe the person on probation has violated the terms of their probation;
  2. Revocation Hearing: If probable cause is found and the judge decides to hold a revocation hearing, a probation agent will present evidence that supports the allegation that the person did in fact violate the terms of their probation.
    • Once again, a person is allowed to contest the allegations brought against them; and
  3. Revocation Sentencing: Finally, the criminal court judge will rule as to whether or not the probation terms were violated and decide whether to impose sanctions or to reinstate the original criminal sentence.

What Are My Legal Options at My Probation Revocation Hearing?

Once again, an individual that has been accused of violating the terms and conditions of their probation has every legal right to contest such allegations. This means that the person can present evidence and testimony that refutes the allegations that are being brought in the revocation hearing.

Evidence that may be provided by an individual attempting to refute the allegations of a probation violation may include testimony from their probation officer, witnesses, supervisors or bosses at work, or even members of the community.

What Is a Parole Revocation Hearing?

Parole and parole revocations hearings are similar to probation and probation revocation hearings. Parole, also known as supervised release, is another alternative criminal sentencing option that occurs after an individual has already served some of their jail sentence. Then, in exchange for good behavior or in an act of leniency, a criminal court judge may order that the person serve some of their sentence on parole instead of in jail.

This means that the person will be released from imprisonment and released into the community. In almost every aspect, parole is almost identical to probation. Similar to probation, an individual will be supervised by a parole officer and will likely have many of the same conditions that they would have had under probation, had probation been offered to avoid imprisonment during the criminal sentencing phase.

What Are the Outcomes of a Revocation Hearing?

Simply put, the outcomes of a revocation hearing are either the person will have their parole or probation revoked, or they will not have their parole or probation revoked. If the probation judge decides to hold a revocation hearing, i.e. they find that there is probable cause to support that a violation may have occurred, then the person may have their parole or probation revoked.

Then there will be a sentencing phase of the hearing where the judge will decide what sentence or sanctions to impose.

Do I Need an Attorney for a Revocation Hearing?

If you have been accused of violating the terms and conditions of your parole or probation, and the judge has decided to hold a revocation hearing, it is in your best interests to immediately consult with an experienced criminal lawyer.

An experienced criminal lawyer will be able to advise you of your legal rights and your best course of legal action. Finally, an experienced attorney will also be able to represent you at the revocation hearing.

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