Parole & Probation Violations

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A Houston criminal defense attorney that fights to prevent a revocation of your parole/probation.

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You received probation, deferred adjudication or were granted parole – but now you are in jeopardy of being put back in jail or prison!  WAIT – THERE’S HELP!

It all starts with a Motion to revoke probation, Motion to adjudicate, or action by the court to revoke your parole.

The consequences can vary significantly, from admonishment by the judge, to enhanced sanctions, or imposition of additional jail time and/or fines.  When you are facing charges of violating probation or parole it can be confusing – you need a tough, experienced attorney to help you navigate your way through the process and fight to keep you out of jail or prison.

Parole Revocation: The “Blue Warrant”

If the parole officer believes an offender violated conditions of supervised release, the parole officer submits a violation report. The report determines whether a warrant will be issued. Parole Division officers review the report to determine if probable cause exists. If probable cause is determined, a warrant is issued to detain the offender pending an administrative hearing.

The warrant is usually published in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and/or the Texas Crime Information Center (TCIC) fugitives warrant database.

Once an offender is detained on a parole warrant, the sheriff having custody notifies the TDCJ Parole Division, which decides whether to begin the hearing process. If violations are only administrative (no crime involved), or include a conviction for which the offender has discharged the sentence, the hearing is requested. If criminal charges are pending, the Parole Division normally schedules a preliminary hearing and, if probable cause is found, defers the revocation hearing until the criminal charge is resolved.

Parole Revocation: What if the Parole Division requests a hearing?

Once the offender is detained and Parole Division decides on a hearing, the offender is interviewed by a parole officer. The offender is advised of their rights in the revocation hearing process to:

  • be personally served with written notice of alleged parole violations,
  • a preliminary hearing unless the offender is accused only of administrative violations or has been convicted of a new criminal offense. The purpose of this hearing is to determine if there is probable cause to believe a condition of release was violated. In some cases, the offender may choose to waive the preliminary hearing,
  • a revocation hearing if the offender is alleged to have committed administrative violations or has been found guilty in a criminal case,
  • full disclosure of all the evidence against the offender before the hearing,
  • hire an attorney and, under certain circumstances, the conditional right to a state-appointed attorney,
  • tell the hearing officer in person what happened and to present evidence, affidavits, letters, and documents to support their position, including the right to subpoena witnesses through the parole officer,
  • confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses (unless the hearing officer finds good cause to deny confrontation),
  • be heard on the allegations by someone designated by the Board.
  • If parole or mandatory supervision is revoked as a result of the hearing, the offender receives a written report by the hearing officer describing the evidence relied upon in finding a violation. In some cases, the offender may petition the Board to reopen the revocation hearing.

Parole Revocation: Administrative Revocation Hearings

Administrative Revocation Hearings are an administrative hearing process before a neutral and detached officer. Specialized hearing officers conduct required hearings.

Three member voting panels of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles review waivers and hearing reports. There are six offices in the state, with the hearing location determining which panel receives the case. Analysts review the hearings and waivers for presentation to the panel.

Two main hearings: (1) The preliminary hearing and (2) The revocation hearing (in some cases to just the revocation hearing, the offender has the choice of waiving one or both of the hearings).

  • If the preliminary hearing is waived at the initial offender interview, the parole officer forwards the waiver with attachments to the Parole Panel for disposition. After reviewing the waiver, a Board Analyst, if there is probable cause to believe a violation occurred, may refer the case to a parole officer to schedule a revocation hearing, or may present the case to a Parole Panel for disposition.
  • If the revocation hearing is waived at the initial offender interview, the parole officer forwards the waiver with attachments to the panel. A Board Analyst reviews the waiver and attachments to decide if a preponderance of evidence shows that a violation of parole or mandatory supervision occurred.

Preliminary hearing:

  • After a pre-revocation interview, the parole officer schedules a preliminary hearing and notifies the offender of the date and time.
  • A hearing officer conducts the hearing, reviews all information and evidence, and determines if probable cause exists to believe offender violated one or more conditions of parole.
  • If probable cause is found, and either proceed to the revocation hearing, or gives the offender the option of waiving the hearing.
  • When a panel receives a preliminary hearing waiver packet, the panel generally takes one of the following actions:
    • Continue the parole in a manner warranted by the evidence, this may include transferring the offender to a treatment facility, halfway house, or Substance Abuse Felony Punishment Facility.
    • Direct the case to proceed to a revocation hearing, or
    • Revoke the offender’s administrative release status (Only when the revocation hearing has been waived).

Revocation Hearing:

  • For the Board to revoke parole or mandatory supervision, a revocation hearing must find a preponderance of credible evidence that one or more parole conditions were violated.
  • If evidence indicates at least one parole violation, the hearing officer moves to the mitigation phase of the hearing.
  • Within a reasonable time after the hearing, the hearing officer forwards to the Parole Panel a report summarizing the evidence, including all submitted documents. The hearing officer and parole officer each make a recommendation for resolving the case. A Board Analyst, who also makes a recommendation, presents the case to the Parole Panel. The panel disposes of the case may either:
    • Continue the parole in a manner warranted by the evidence; this may include transferring the offender to a treatment facility, halfway house, or Substance Abuse Felony Punishment Facility.
    • Direct the case to proceed to a revocation hearing, or
    • Revoke the offender’s administrative release status (Only when the revocation hearing has been waived).
    • If revoked, the supervising parole officer provides the offender a copy of the hearing officer’s report and notice of the right to petition to reopen the hearing.

Two phases: (1) The allegation phase, and (2) The Adjustment phase (also known as a mitigation hearing).

Allegation phase:  Limited to presenting evidence for alleged violations. The hearing does not proceed to the second phase unless an applicable level of proof is found for at least one violation.

The adjustment phase: Provides an opportunity to weigh evidence about an offender’s adjustment while on parole.  This phase takes into consideration things such as work history, previous parole violations, and compliance with required programs and conditions of administrative release.

What are the options available to the panel when deciding what actions to take?

  1. Continue parole or mandatory supervision but transfer the offender to a treatment facility, halfway house, Substance Abuse Felony Punishment Facility, or an Intermediate Sanction Facility;
  2. Proceed to a revocation hearing;
  3. Allow to discharge if the offender is past the discharge date;
  4. Revoke the parole or mandatory supervision release;
  5. Continue on supervision, with or without modifying conditions, and
  6. Reverse a previous revocation.

What Do the different parties do during the hearing?

  • Hearing Officers conduct the hearing, they determine the relevant facts of the case and submits summarized information in a report for the Board.
  • Parole Officers attend the hearings and present evidence of the alleged violations, obtain subpoenas for all offenders and adverse witnesses, and provides hearing officer and offender with copies of all documents that will be presented as evidence.
  • The Offender must be present but does not have to answer questions, but may testify on their own behalf if they choose.  They may hire an attorney or request that one be appointed, may request witnesses (making the request directly to the parole officers), cross examine witnesses, present documentary or other evidence, and may object or present motions regarding procedure or evidence.  If the offender is represented by counsel, the attorney will take these actions on behalf of the offender.

Parole Revocation: Legal authority for handling parole revocation matters:

  1. Texas Government Code, Chapter 508 (Parole and Mandatory Supervision Law),
  2. Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Article 42.19 Interstate Corrections Compact,
  3. Rules of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, and
  4. Applicable Court Rulings.

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Facing a Motion to adjudicate, Motion to Revoke

Probation, or a Parole Revocation?

Talk With Houston Criminal Defense Attorney Tristan LeGrande

Often these are a result of technical violations, such as not paying required fees or being short on community service hours. As your attorney, I may be able to negotiate a new payment plan via an affirmative defense of “inability to pay”.

Also, if the client continues community service as though the motion to revoke had never been filed, you may argue that you as the probationer are taking the motion and the court seriously, and the court may be lenient.

Probation revocation hearings are decided by a judge, not a jury. The standard of proof is lower than in a criminal trial; this means it is easier for the prosecution to convict you.

Houston Criminal Defense Attorney Tristan LeGrande is Ready To Defend Your Rights

You still have rights, such as the right to an attorney, to confront witnesses and to present testimony in your defense.

You can be in violation of your probation or parole for a many reasons, including:

  • Drug test failure
  • Not completing your community service
  • Committing a new crime
  • Not reporting to your probation officer

If you are trying to maintain your freedom and are in danger of being found in violation of community supervision, or have already violated your parole or probation and need professional assistance for the purpose of reinstatement, contact Houston criminal defense attorney Tristan LeGrande as soon as you can, by calling 281-684-3500.

If you are facing a revocation of your parole or probation you could be looking at months to years in jail or prison – it is critical you have an aggressive defense attorney in your corner.  Tristan LeGrande of LeGrande Law will fight for your rights and liberty, call today for a free consultation.

Parole & Probation Violations | Houston Criminal Defense Attorney

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