Most people who are sentenced to a period of incarceration in prison for conviction of a crime are eventually released on parole. Although being released from prison is certainly preferable to remaining in custody, it is important to remember that a parolee remains under the supervision of the Department of Corrections throughout his/her time on parole. With that in mind, you may be worried about the punishment for a parole violation if you are currently on parole. Numerous factors will be considered when deciding how to handle a violation; however, a better understanding of how parole works and how the punishment for a parole violation is typically decided may be helpful.
Any discussion about parole should begin by clarifying the difference between parole and probation given how often the two are confused. 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. It is not a sentencing alternative. 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.
Punishment for Violating Parole
Because you remain under the supervision of the BOP, you must abide by the terms and conditions of your parole as set forth by the BOP. Furthermore, the BOP retains the authority to violate your parole if it believes reason exists to do so. Things such as failing to report for a parole meeting with your officer, moving without informing your officer, or getting arrested for a new offense may trigger a violation. If you are violated, you are entitled to a hearing in front of the BOP. At that hearing, you have a right to defend yourself (and should do so) against the allegations that you violated your parole. The Board of Parole will listen t both sides, similar to a trial but without the formalities, and will then decide if a violation has occurred. If the BOP decides you did violate your parole, you could be fined or additional conditions could be added to your parole conditions, such as a requirement that you have a substance abuse evaluation and treatment if deemed necessary. If the violation was serious enough, your parole could be revoked entirely. In that case, you will be returned to prison and required to complete the remainder of your sentence there.
Contact a Tennessee Parole Violation Lawyer
If you are a parolee and you have been notified that a violation has been (or will be) filed against you with the Board of Parole in the State of Tennessee, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Tennessee parole violation attorney. Contact the team at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.