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Your Rights in a Parole Revocation Hearing

Parole Law Blog by The Law Office of Greg Tsioros

Your Rights in a Parole Revocation Hearing

The first thing to realize about a parole revocation hearing is that you won’t have all the same rights you would at trial. If you have been so unfortunate as to have your parole revoked, you may be looking for ways to improve your situation. An experienced parole attorney can help.

In the meantime, here are some facts about parole revocation hearings to help you and your loved ones prepare for the future. A revocation hearing does not necessarily result in parole revocation. The point of the hearing is for the Parole Board to determine whether or not to revoke your parole based on circumstances and history.

Not All the Same Rights

Although the Parole Board released you from prison, you are still “in custody” through mandatory supervision. You are not entirely free to go anywhere or do anything because you must report various circumstances to your parole officer and check in with the officer on schedule. 

While you won’t enjoy all the rights of someone not convicted of a crime or facing a jury, you are still due several vital elements to prepare and participate in your revocation hearing.

You should receive written notice of your alleged parole violations and the possible consequences of those actions. The document should contain enough information for you and your attorney to prepare a defense and find mitigating evidence to reduce the perceived severity of your actions, possibly even to justify them.

You should receive a timely hearing of the charges against you provided at a probable cause hearing and a formal revocation hearing. There should be no unreasonable delay in giving this hearing. You were released on parole; they should not hold you unnecessarily. 

You can subpoena witnesses, and they are bound to appear unless your hearing is held outside the county of your residence or more than 75 miles away. So, if your lawyer subpoenas witnesses to support your side of the story, they must attend if they don’t meet the exceptions.

You have the right to a fair and unbiased hearing body. Everyone on the board should be able to swear they have no particular interest in either releasing you or revoking your parole. Board members need not be judicial officers or attorneys. They merely must be “neutral and detached” from your case.

Finally, you retain all rights and protections provided under the Due Process clause of the US Constitution’s 14th Amendment.

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Any “termination” of your freedom must be decided at a formal hearing where everyone can assure that verifiable facts support the finding of a parole violation and revocation.

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Detention and Interview

If someone detains you regarding an alleged parole violation for which the Parole Division requires a hearing, your parole officer interviews you and advises you on your rights, as follows.

You have the right to be personally served with a written notice of your alleged parole violation. That right is listed above. Any hearing is preliminary unless you violated one or more administrative rules or were convicted of a new crime.

The preliminary hearing determines if there is probable cause to believe you violated the conditions of your release on parole or mandatory supervision. As the offender, you can waive this right if you wish and are eligible to do that.

You have the right to a revocation hearing if you allegedly committed administrative violations or have been found guilty of a crime. An administrative violation may involve failure to report a change in residence or to appear for meetings with your community supervision officer. Failure to pay restitution or court fees or having a positive drug test counts as an administrative violation. 

You may waive the revocation hearing if you’re eligible to make that choice.

You have the right to full disclosure of all evidence of your alleged violation before the hearing convenes. You have time to prepare a defense designed to reduce the impact of the evidence or refute it entirely.

You have the right to meet the hearing officer in person, stating what happened and presenting evidence, affidavits, documents, and letters supporting your right to subpoena witnesses through your parole officer. You also have the right to confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses (those who are witnesses supporting revocation).

You lose the right to cross-examine adverse witnesses if the hearing officer has reasonable cause to deny you. 

Finally, you have the right for someone designated by the board to hear your side of the story about the allegations of parole violations.

Contact parole lawyer Greg Tsioros today»

Revocation and Waiving Rights

If the board determines to revoke your parole due to the presented violations and you cannot sway them otherwise, you have the right to receive a written report by the hearing officer that describes all the evidence the board relied upon in finding you violated parole. 

You might be given the chance to petition the Parole Board to reopen the revocation hearing, but you will need to show cause.

As with all rights, you are free to waive them. You can expressly state you waive a right or imply you waive a right by not asserting it. For example, you can waive your right to a preliminary hearing by saying so. Or you can skip subpoenaing witnesses, thereby waiving any right to force anyone to appear who lives within the county or within 75 miles.

Why You Need a Lawyer

You need effective defense if you are detained for alleged parole violations. A public defender may not have the experience or knowledge to create a strong strategy.

Even though you were detained for potentially violating your parole, a knowledgeable attorney like Greg Tsioros improves your chances of proving you deserve to remain out in the world and not behind bars.

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