Defending Against Allegations of Parole Violations
If a court sentences you to a prison term, you may be eligible for early release. Such a release, however, will come with many conditions that the court expects you to follow for a certain period of time. This process of conditional release is called parole, and any violation of your parole can result in serious consequences—including a return to prison.
If you were accused of a parole violation, you need a highly experienced criminal defense law firm on your side. The legal team at Duffy Law can protect your rights and skillfully defend against parole violation allegations, so please contact us today to discuss your situation.
Difference Between Parole and Probation
People often confuse parole with another term of conditional release, probation. Before discussing the differences between probation and parole, it is important to know what exactly parole is. There are two types of parole in Connecticut: Special Parole and Standard Parole. They are different in the way they operate and how they are imposed.
Special Parole is a type of parole that is made part of a defendant’s original sentence. For example, instead of probation, a judge can sentence a defendant to 3 years to serve in prison followed by 2 years of Special Parole. This means that after serving your original sentence of 3 years, you will be released from prison, but under the supervision of a parole officer for 2 years. If you violate your special parole, you have very limited rights – the parole officer, based on good cause, can find you violated your Special Parole and return you to prison. You do not have a right to contest the alleged parole violation in a hearing. Special Parole is generally only imposed on defendants who have multiple past violations of probation indicating they are not cooperative with the supervision process. A sentence that includes Special Parole will not include a sentence of Probation.
Standard Parole, on the other hand, is not part of an original sentence. Standard Parole is a type of early release from prison. For example, if you are sentenced to time in prison, you may be eligible for early release based upon good behavior while in prison. If you are released early, you are still under the supervision of a parole officer. The conditions of your parole will be set by the Parole Board.
If you are alleged to have violated your conditions of parole, the Parole Board will hold a hearing to consider the evidence of the violation. If the Board finds you violated your parole, you can be returned to prison to serve a portion, or the entire remainder, of your original sentence. Whether or not you receive parole, and whether or not you complete your parole successfully, once your original prison sentence is complete, you will begin supervision under probation (if probation was part of your original sentence).
In sum, probation is a period of supervision after you have served your original sentence, whereas parole is a period of supervision during your original sentence.
While probation and parole certainly have their differences, both impose numerous conditions that you must follow to continue your release. The parole officer will specifically tailor parole conditions to the details of your case and expect you to comply with all of those conditions for the duration of your parole. Some conditions may include:
- Compliance with all federal and state laws
- Drug or alcohol testing
- Employment or participation in an educational program
- Prohibitions on possession of firearms or other weapons
- Prohibitions on possession of illegal controlled substances
- Prohibitions on association with certain people, including those in prison or on parole
- Prohibitions on visiting certain locations
- Reporting to a parole officer on a regularly scheduled basis
- Notifying a parole officer about any changes of address or employment
- Living in a halfway house
- Submitting to warrantless searches of their homes, themselves, or vehicles by parole officers
If your original sentence included a term of Special Parole, the judge may impose additional conditions based on specific details of your offense or other risk factors.
In addition to ensuring that you will comply with the law upon release, parole also intends to help reintegrate offenders into society after prison terms, as well as continue any rehabilitation or training started in prison.
Connecticut law provides the opportunity for parole to eligible people who will serve a definite sentence of more than two years. Other parole eligibility requirements include:
- You were not convicted of murder, capital felony murder, felony murder, arson murder, or aggravated sexual assault in the first degree.
- The Connecticut Department of Corrections does not designate you as a security risk.
- You are not in a Department of Corrections chronic disciplinary unit.
- You have no criminal cases currently pending in Connecticut.
If you meet this criteria and have served the required amount of your prison term (usually 50 percent for non-violent offenders or 85 percent for violent offenders), you can apply for parole. A parole board will then determine your suitability for release on parole and can set certain conditions for your release.
The parole board will assign a parole officer to your case who will supervise your behavior and report suspected violations to the parole board, which will then decide any penalties for your parole violation. The parole board will base any penalties on the severity of the violation and the underlying offense. Options range from enhancing the conditions of parole and requiring time in a drug rehabilitation or mental health facility to completely revoking parole, which can result in a return to prison.
Administrative proceedings in front of a parole board provide a person with fewer rights and protections than criminal court proceedings. Hire an aggressive defense attorney to represent you in front of the parole board to limit the consequences you may face and to prevent a wrongful violation.
Federal Parole and Supervised Release
The federal criminal justice system eliminated traditional parole for all offenders sentenced after 1987. Instead, the law now permits the judge to sentence a defendant to probation instead of prison (for less serious cases) or a period of supervised release. Supervised release is a period of court supervision that begins after a defendant has been released from federal prison.
Although there is no longer parole in the federal system, defendants can earn time off their sentences for good behavior. If a federal inmate earns all good behavior time, he or she will only be required to serve 85% of the sentence. For certain inmates, participation in drug treatment programs while in prison can shorten a federal sentence even more.
In addition to penalties for any new criminal charges, supervised release violations commonly result in a return to prison. You need a lawyer who fully understands the federal criminal justice system if you face accusations of violating the conditions of your supervised release. With the proper defense, you may completely defend against the violations or receive penalties that do not involve more prison time.
Call Duffy Law Today to Schedule a Consultation with Our Parole Violation Attorneys
Parole or supervised release violations can result in serious consequences, including unexpected arrests, increased lengths of imprisonment, fines, and additional criminal charges. If you face supervised release or parole violation charges, however, still have the right to contest the charges, and a lawyer has many ways to help you, from proving the allegations are false to mitigating the consequences.
At Duffy Law, our Connecticut parole violation lawyers are committed to protecting the rights of the accused and do everything we can to keep our clients from unwarranted prison sentences. To schedule a case evaluation with one of our attorneys, call Duffy Law today at (203) 946-2000 or send us an email through our online contact form.