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Understanding Technical Parole Violations

Parole Law Blog by The Law Office of Greg Tsioros

Understanding Technical Parole Violations

Parole is designed to give you a fresh start in life and let you get back out into regular society. However, your fresh start is only as good as the effort that you make into abiding by your parole rules.

If you run afoul of these rules, you could lose your chance at freedom and find yourself back behind bars. You can appreciate the opportunity that you have been given with parole by learning what violations to avoid and what to do if you are accused of any of them. 

What are Some Examples of Parole Violations?

When you are released on parole, you will first meet with your parole officer to find out what you must do to stay out from behind bars. Your parole officer is tasked with clearly defining by what rules that you must live during the time that you are out on parole. You also may be given written documentation of these rules to which to refer.

Referring to this documentation can be vital for helping you steer clear of offenses that can violate the terms of your parole and understanding what is expected of you as a parolee. Some of the more common offenses that may violate the terms of your parole include:

  • Failing to find and maintain meaningful employment
  • Moving out of the city, state or country without permission from the court
  • Breaking the stipulated curfew for when you must be at home each night
  • Failing to report to your parole officer
  • Denying your parole officer access to your home or workplace
  • Failing to take or pass a drug test
  • Missing a court date
  • Not paying your court costs

Parole violations can be either direct or technical. A direct parole violation occurs when the court sentences you for a new criminal conviction when you are already out on parole. A technical parole violation occurs when the court finds out that you violated the terms for your parole. 

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Why Do Parole Violations Matter?

Parole violations matter for a variety of reasons. Primarily, they show that you have abused the opportunity that the parole board extended to you in releasing you from prison. You did not take advantage of this chance to learn from your past mistakes and try to integrate back into society in a meaningful way.

Further, they matter because they may have led to you victimizing another person. Especially if you committed a new crime, such as robbery or assault, there is a new victim to which the parole board is now liable because the members of the board released you back into society. The victim could have the legal right to sue the state for putting his or her safety at risk because you did not have to serve out your full sentence behind bars.

Last, parole violations matter because they can result in you being sent back to prison. Your parole officer and law enforcement have the obligation of finding and arresting you. The state then must incur the expense of paying for the rest of your sentence. 

However, before you are sent back to prison, you have the right to appear in a hearing before the parole board. This hearing allows you the chance to defend yourself against the accusations of violating your parole. You also have the right to bring your own witnesses and question any witnesses that the parole board brings in to testify against you. 

You also have the right to hire an attorney and have them present in the hearing with you. Your attorney can advise you on what to say to the parole board. They can also speak and answer some or all of the questions that the parole board might ask of you.

Your attorney can be vital in helping you avoid going back to prison. While one may not be appointed to you free of charge, it can still be beneficial for you to hire one if you can afford to before you appear in a hearing before the parole board.

How Parole Violations Are Punished

If you are found guilty of parole violations, you can face any number of punishments. Because of the variety of punishments that you could face, it is vital that you have an experienced parole violations attorney to represent you if you are accused of violating your parole.

The most obvious punishment that you can face if you are found guilty of violating your parole involves going back to prison. If you are sent back to prison for a parole violation, you must serve out the remainder of your sentence behind bars.

The parole board will not grant you another opportunity for early release and going back into society. Depending on your initial sentence, this could mean serving out months, if not years, in prison.

Alternatively, if you are convicted of a direct parole violation, or an entirely new crime, while out on parole, you could face a brand new sentence that you must serve in addition to the remainder of your first. Depending on the type of new crime that you are convicted of, you may even have to serve the rest of your life behind bars. 

This scenario could especially occur if you live in a state with the three strikes rule, and you are convicted of your third offense. It can also occur if you commit a violent crime, such as murder or rape.

On top of any sentence that you have to serve, you also may be ordered to pay civil fines. These fines can be particularly expensive, even totaling in the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. You must pay these fines even if you are sentenced to life in prison. 

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Why Hire an Attorney?

You do not have to face accusations of violating your parole on your own. Just as when you were first charged with a crime, you have the right to retain an attorney to represent you.

When you hire a parole violations attorney to take your case, you gain an effective legal ally in what could be an embarrassing, complicated and perilous process that determines if or when you go back to prison. Your ultimate goal is to stay out and remain a part of regular society. To achieve this goal, you need to prove to the parole board that you did not purposely or knowingly violate your parole or are entirely innocent of the accusations against you.

Your parole violations attorney can answer any questions that the members of the parole board ask of you. They can also question witnesses that you or the parole board bring into testify and refute evidence that the parole board presents against your case. Your attorney can also present evidence in your favor. 

An effective parole violations attorney can be your greatest asset when you are accused of violating the terms of your parole. You can show that you obeyed all of the rules for your early release. You also may defend yourself successfully against new criminal charges against you.

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