When you’re charged with a parole violation, it can be a serious offense and one that can get you sent back to prison. This is why it’s important to understand the alleged violation you are facing and the potential consequences.
At the Coolidge Law Firm, our team of criminal defense lawyers can explain the process and the legalities surrounding a parole violation.
We’re going to take a closer look at:
- When parole is granted
- The eligibility process in North Carolina
- Common parole violations
- What to expect when you are accused of violating parole
- How our team of criminal defense lawyers can help
But first, let’s take a closer look at the differences between parole and probation because people often get confused between the two.
Parole vs. Probation
The main difference between parole and probation is that probation happens before or instead of prison time, while parole occurs after prison time is served. Both scenarios are alternatives to incarceration.
A probation officer or parole officer is assigned to each case. When someone is on probation or parole, they are subject to random drug tests, and warrantless searches, and must check in with their supervisor regularly.
When is Parole Granted?
A parole board will hold a parole board hearing and grant release when they believe the prison has reformed and will no longer be a threat to society. Many states grant prisoners parole to deal with expenses and prison overcrowding.
If parole is granted, the parolee is released and allowed to live freely but will be under the supervision of their parole officer.
Parole Eligibility and Process in North Carolina
Under North Carolina General Statute 15A-1271, a prisoner can be eligible for parole at any time as long as the minimum sentence that was imposed has been served. When this occurs, the Parole Commission will schedule a hearing.
When a prisoner is eligible, the commission will review all information in the case. Victims and any interested contacts will also be notified of the parole hearing.
These factors will be taken into consideration for early release:
- Nature of the crime committed
- Previous criminal record
- Individual’s behavior while incarcerated
- Participation in prison programs
- Any input from victims, interested parties, or court officials
The hearing will determine if parole is granted, denied, or needs to be further investigated. When parole is granted, the commission will set the conditions and the prisoner will get a parole officer as part of their release.
Common Parole Violations
Parole violations can run the gamut. But there are many common ones including:
- Breaking curfew
- Arrest for a new crime
- Failing to report to your parole officer
- Traveling without permission
- Failing a drug test
- Spending time with other convicted felons who you were ordered to avoid
- Failing to find work after being released
Drug crimes and substance abuse charges are among the most common offenses. When someone is abusing substances, they may miss a scheduled drug test because they know they will fail.
What Should You Expect When Accused Of Violating Parole?
Just as easy as parole can be granted, parole can be revoked. When you are accused of violating parole, the parole board can send you back to prison to continue your sentence.
You may have a preliminary hearing to discuss your violation. The typical process follows these steps:
- The hearing is held within a reasonable time
- A parolee is given written notice of the preliminary hearing and receives enough time to prepare a defense.
- Witnesses and documentary evidence may be presented, and witnesses are cross-examined.
- The hearing officer submits a written report to the parole board once the hearing is over.
- The board will then decide if it will accept or overrule the hearing officer’s findings.
If the board finds probable cause that you violated the terms, you will have a parole revocation hearing. The U.S. Supreme Court has established due process requirements for parole revocation proceedings that all states must follow. During this hearing, you are eligible to have a lawyer represent you. Your attorney may challenge the evidence to show doubt of a violation or provide a reasonable cause for the violation.
Once the parole board hears the evidence, the parole board can decide to take one of the following actions:
- Allow you to remain on parole
- Modify the conditions of your parole
- Revoke your parole and send you back to prison
Even when parole is revoked, you can still file an appeal, but there may be limited grounds to do so.
Penalties For Parole Violations
Besides being sent back to prison, you may face other penalties when you violate parole. Penalties can include:
- Increased Parole Term
- Arrest warrant
- Revocation of Parole
- Criminal charges if you commit a new crime while on parole
Your defense attorney will explain the penalties that you may face and will try to avoid you getting sent back to prison.
Best Ways To Avoid A Violation
When the Parole Commission grants parole, there are conditions of release that you must follow to stay out of prison.
Conditional release often includes things like obeying the laws, as well as terms that will be specific to your offense. This can mean staying away from drugs or alcohol in some cases.
You also want to check in with your parole officer when scheduled. Keep a calendar and don’t be late for your appointments.
There are also technical requirements like telling the court if you move or change jobs. If you fail to comply with these rules, you may face technical violations.
The best way to avoid a parole violation is to comply with the conditions of your release. Violating any parole conditions can result in a hearing and possibly being sent back to prison.
Want To Fight Your Parole Violation? Speak With A Criminal Defense Attorney Today!
If you are facing a parole violation and need legal representation at a parole violation hearing, contact the Coolidge Law Firm. Our attorneys will provide the legal resources you need to face your violation. You can count on us to provide a professional client-attorney relationship as we represent you. Call us today at (919) 239-8448 or contact us online to get started.