The term “parole” dates back to the Medieval era, and comes from the French word for “speech,” although a more exact meaning is “word of honor.”
Long before the modern criminal law system came into being, prisoners of war during the Middle Ages would give their word not to rejoin the fighting as a condition of their release.
It wasn’t until much later that parole as we understand it today was born, allowing offenders to finish out their sentences in the community before they finish their prison sentence.
Parole ends when the offender serves their full sentence while under supervision by a parole officer, without having their parole revoked.
This agreement is something the world of criminal law takes seriously, which is why breaking the terms of your parole can have grave consequences. Let’s look at what happens when someone violates their parole in Pennsylvania.
Parole in Pennsylvania
When someone is released from prison on parole, the law requires them to adhere to certain conditions. They’ll need to report to a local parole officer and keep in contact with this person.
In some cases, parolees will need to find steady work, stick to a curfew, or attend drug and alcohol treatment sessions. They will also likely have to inform the court if they move or change jobs.
In Pennsylvania, parole violators fall into two categories, convicted and technical:
1. Convicted parole violators
These are parolees who violate the terms of their parole by committing a new crime. According to the state Board of Probation and Parole, these parolees will be detained in jail under a board warrant until the new charges against them are settled.
If the new offense is a non-violent crime, the parole board must decide whether to revoke the “street time” the parolee spent. In the case of a violent crime, the parolee automatically loses their time, which means their sentence is recalculated.
2. Technical parole violators
These are parolees who violate the terms of their parole without committing a new crime. They might miss curfew, move without permission, or have unauthorized contact with their victims.
Depending on the extent of the offense, these violators might be subject to new limits on their freedom, sent to a treatment program, or put back in prison.
What are my rights if I’m accused of violating my parole?
As with any criminal court case, someone accused of a parole violation has the right to due process, which includes a hearing where they can hear the evidence against them and mount a defense. Parolees can try to convince the board they didn’t violate their parole, or that the violation wasn’t that severe.
This is where having a Doylestown criminal defense lawyer can help. Just like a regular criminal court proceeding, the parolee and defense attorney have the chance to collect evidence and call witnesses.
If successful, the parolee will be free to finish out their parole, although they may find that it’s under closer supervision than before. But if the board determines the parolee did violate their parole, they may decide to send them back to jail to finish the initial sentence.
If you’re a parolee who needs a criminal defense lawyer, Doylestown’s Penglase and Benson can help. As former prosecutors, we understand the system, and have earned the respect of local judges and law enforcement. But we also understand the fear anyone feels when facing criminal charges.
We are determined to fight for your rights, whether you’ve been charged with a crime or are facing a parole violation hearing. Contact us today to schedule an appointment, and we’ll get to work on finding a defense that works for you.