If you were recently released from prison and are currently on parole, you undoubtedly know how important it is to abide by the conditions of your release. You may realize that nothing good can come from violating your parole; however, you may not know exactly how bad the consequences are likely to be. If you find yourself worried about a potential violation, should you hire an attorney? Do you really need a lawyer if you violated your parole? A Murfreesboro parole violation lawyer explains why it is in your best interest to have an attorney by your side if you are facing a parole violation.
Before discussing the possible ramifications of a parole violation, it helps to first go over some parole basics. Specifically, it is important to understand the difference between probation and parole. Though the two terms are frequently used interchangeably, they are not, in fact, the same thing.
Probation is a type of sentencing alternative that may be part of your sentence if you are convicted of a criminal offense. A defendant can be sentenced directly by the sentencing judge to a term of probation in addition to, or in lieu of, a period of incarceration in the county jail. If you are sentenced to serve a period of time on probation, you will be supervised by the sentencing court throughout your probationary time period. You will also be assigned to a probation officer to whom you will report. The probation officer then reports back to the sentencing court about your progress. The court sets the terms and conditions of your probation; however, your probation officer will be the one to notify the court if you have violated one of those terms because the sentencing court retains jurisdiction over you until you complete your probation.
Parole, on the other hand, follows a period of incarceration in the state (or federal) prison system. If you served time in prison pursuant to a criminal conviction you may then have been released on parole. Although the original sentencing judge decides your sentence, in the State of Tennessee the Board of Parole, or BOP, decides whether or not you are released from incarceration onto parole after you have served the minimum amount of time required by law in prison. Parole allows you to serve the remaining portion of your sentence in the community instead of behind bars. While on parole you are supervised by the Department of Corrections and you will be assigned to a parole officer. All parolees are required to abide by standard conditions of parole. In addition, you may have special conditions that apply to your parole. The BOP retains the authority to violate your parole if it believes reason exists to do so. If you are violated, you are entitled to a hearing in front of the Board.
Parole violations fall into two broad categories – substantive and technical violations. A substantive violation means you have been charged with committing a new crime. A technical violation refers to things such as missing an appointment with your parole officer, failing to complete court-ordered community service work, or failing to maintain employment. Thanks to the Public Safety Act of 2016, most technical violations no longer result in a return to prison. Instead, positive reinforcement is used to encourage compliance and gradually increasing penalties are used for technical violations. The goal is to prevent a return to prison when it is possible, and safe to the community, to further that goal.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Violation?
Although the Public Safety Act of 2016 makes it less likely that you will automatically be returned to prison for a parole violation, it remains in your best interest to have an experienced attorney on your side if you are notified of a violation. Violations are scheduled in front of the Parole Board for a hearing. Regardless of how insignificant you think the violation is, having an experienced attorney by your side, speaking on your behalf, dramatically increases the odds that you will not be returned to prison if the Board finds that you did, indeed violate your parole.
Contact a Murfreesboro Parole Violation Lawyer
If you are concerned about a parole violation in Tennessee, it is in your best interests to consult with an experienced Murfreesboro parole violation lawyer at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby as soon as possible. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.