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What to Do If You Violate Your Parole Conditions

Parole Law Blog by The Law Office of Greg Tsioros

What to Do If You Violate Your Parole Conditions

If you are given the privilege of parole, you may ask “What happens if I violate the conditions of my parole?” If you violate probation, will you automatically be returned to jail or prison?

Parole is essentially a test period to ascertain if you’re ready to live in society once more. Parole violation is a serious offense that happens if you break the conditions of terms of your parole. The resulting consequences often depend on several factors, including the severity or nature of the violation, if you have violated parole before, or whether there are additional circumstances that could ameliorate (or worsen) the seriousness of the situation. Parole violation may mean harsh penalties, such as a significant fine, extended probation term, jail or prison time, or more.

In general, parole violation happens if you refuse, ignore, avoid, or break the conditions and terms established when parole is granted.

What Are Parole Conditions?

When an individual is released on parole, he or she must comply with state and federal laws. He is typically required to stay in the state of incarceration, or the state in which the crime was committed, and must also submit to check-ins with the parole officer on a regular basis.

In addition, the parolee must:

  • Maintain employment (or attempt to keep a steady job)
  • Continue with an educational course or trajectory they’ve started while incarcerated
  • Report to the parole officer according to the terms and conditions of parole
  • Notify the parole officer of a change of address
  • Avoid using, administering, or possessing any controlled substances
  • Refrain from firearm (or defensive, deadly weapons) control or possession
  • Avoid correspondence with any individual on parole or within a correctional facility
  • Waive Extradition

Parole terms and conditions may also require the parolee to submit to regular drug testing, warrantless search and seizure, or searches performed without probable cause.
Along with these typical requirements, the parolee is subject to specific requirements in Texas. For instance, if he or she was convicted or an alcohol-related offense, the terms of parole may include refraining from drinking alcoholic beverages.

Have you been accused of a parole violation in Houston?
Contact experienced parole attorney Greg Tsioros today for a consultation

What are examples of parole violations?

It’s possible to violate parole in various ways, including:

  • Failure to report to your parole officer as scheduled
  • Failure to submit to mandatory urine testing (drug and alcohol testing)
  • Failure to attend ordered therapy or Alcoholics Anonymous meetings several times a week
  • Failure to return to your halfway house over a certain time period
  • Failure to report to your re-entry or work program
  • Failure to attend ordered anger management classes
  • Curfew violation
  • Operating a vehicle without an installed ignition interlock device or breathalyzer
  • Visiting specific individuals or places, e.g. within 500 feet of a school zone, or traveling to another location, e.g. a certain county without your parole officer’s permission
  • Committing new offenses or crimes (note: a fender bender for which you’re at fault is considered a technical offense and isn’t as serious as failing to report to a meeting with the parole officer or declining to submit to drug or alcohol testing)
  • Getting arrested for a new offense (even if it’s not a criminal offense)

If the parole officer assigned to you believed you violated the conditions of parole, he or she may issue a blue warrant for your arrest. At that time, you’ll be transported to county jail and ask if 1) you waive your rights or 2) you wish to have a parole revocation hearing.

Why do I need a parole revocation hearing?

Under the law, before the parolee is returned to jail or prison, or subject to additional consequences resulting from the parole violation, he or she has the right to legal due process.

This means you have the right to a hearing, hear evidence presented against you, and the right to defend yourself. You have to right to do your best to convince members of the parole board that you didn’t commit a violation or that the violation isn’t as serious as presented.

Call an experienced parole attorney now, before matters escalate. He may have the skills necessary to put things right.

Request a parole revocation hearing because, once a parole violation is entered onto your record, getting parole will be much more difficult when you’re eligible next time. You must choose to fight with the help of an experienced parole violation attorney at your side:

  • Don’t give away your freedom.
  • Don’t waive your rights. You could be returned to jail or prison.
  • Don’t take the matter of parole violation lightly. This is serious.
  • Don’t sign anything that acknowledges a parole violation without input from your parole attorney.
What happens at the parole revocation hearing?

Some parolees live in fear of violating any of the conditions of their parole. Some conditions are quite easily violated and, at a parole revocation hearing, the burden of proof is lower than proving the individual is guilty of a crime.

Without an experienced parole attorney, preparing for the parole revocation hearing can be complex, difficult, and frustrating. He understands the parole revocation process described under Texas Government Code, Chapter 508.

At the parole revocation hearing, the parolee is apt to see his or her parole officer and a hearing officer who conducts the hearing. The parolee’s attorney is also present. If there are witnesses requested by either the defendant parolee or his or her parole officer, they will also attend the hearing.

Different types of evidence will be presented at the hearing:

  • At the start of the hearing, the parole officer introduces evidence, such as the certificate of parole. This establishes the jurisdiction over the individual accused of parole violation.
  • The hearing officer typically asks the parolee if he or she would like their rights read or if they choose to waive the court reading of these rights.
  • The hearing officer then reviews each alleged violation of parole.
  • The parolee is provided the opportunity to deny or admit any parole violation.

The parolee, or the parolee’s attorney, has the opportunity to present his or her side of the story after the violations are read. The hearing officer takes the parole officer’s evidence, which may include: 1) documentary evidence, such as a violation report describing the alleged violation of parole, 2) witnesses, or 3) videos.

The parolee, or his or her attorney, may object to evidence as the evidence is presented. He or she may cross-examine any testimony, witness, or evidence placed against him or her.

After the parole officer completes this step, the parolee may testify, present evidence (e.g. testimony, affidavits, pictures, letters, or witnesses) in his or her favor. The parolee isn’t required to do this: the burden of proof is on the parole officer.
Once the evidence is presented from both sides, the hearing officer considers the facts and makes a finding. A single violation of parole can result in returning the violator to jail or prison:

  • If the hearing officer finds the hearing officer didn’t meet the burden of proof, he or she enters a “no finding of a preponderance of credible evidence.” This finding is like a not guilty verdict in a criminal case. At that point, the hearing officer recommends that parole should not be revoked.
  • If the hearing officer finds that credible evidence shows the parolee violated one or more conditions of parole, the hearing proceeds to the adjustment phase. At that point, both sides present evidence concerning the parolee’s performance and compliance to date.
  • The parole officer presents an “adjustment statement” to recap the parolee’s performance to date. The statement includes the parolee’s criminal history evidence; how he or she is doing on the payment of restitution, fines, or fees he or she owes; the parolee’s home environment and situation (and his or her verified residential address); indications or evidence or drug/alcohol use; and the parolee’s compliance with “special conditions,” if any. If the parolee is eligible for continued supervision and release, the report will state whether he or she is a candidate for electronic monitoring or if he or she is eligible for inclusion in an Intermediate Sanction Facility (ISF).
  • The parolee, or his or her attorney, may then question the parole officer about any other evidence presented.

Upon conclusion of the adjustment phase, the hearing officer requests the parole officer’s recommendations and closes the hearing. All evidence presented, plus the hearing officer’s notes and recommendations, are forwarded to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.

The parole board then votes to determine the parolee’s next steps. It may take two to three weeks for the parole board to arrive at a decision. The parolee is then advised about the conclusion and why the board reached it:

  • If the parole board moves to revoke parole, the parolee has 60 days from the decision date to ask for a reopening of the hearing.

What Should I Do After Violating Parole Conditions?

Contact an experienced parole violation attorney now. He will interview you to answer the following types of questions:

  • Did you violate the terms of your probation?
  • Did the parole officer make a mistake?
  • What’s your compliance record? Is this your first and only slip?
  • Was one of the terms or conditions of parole extremely challenging for you to keep for some reason?
  • Did your parole officer demonstrate bias against you? Did he or she have some sort of problem with you? Was it impossible to communicate or keep on good terms with this individual?

Greg Tsioros will argue on your behalf before the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. He’ll present the facts to demonstrate you’re neither a risk nor a danger to society. Contact The Law Office of Greg Tsioros in Houston to schedule an initial case evaluation.

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