When an individual is sentenced to prison for a crime, they may be fortunate enough to be released earlier than their prison term, with conditions. This referred to as parole. Not all prisoners are entitled to parole. On the contrary, before parole is granted to a prisoner, a parole board of prison officials must discuss several factors about the prisoner, and often debates whether or not the prisoner qualifies for parole.
Essentially, parole can be considered a supervised test for released prisoners. Parolees must meet certain conditions before they are deemed fit to fully return to society without supervision. In Pennsylvania, parolees are supervised by a local parole office and they are not allowed to leave certain geographical areas without requesting and being granted permission by their parole officer. They are also expected to remain in contact and make regular appointments with their parole officer and request written permission if they need or want to move to another place of residence. We can help! Our attorneys are often successful in filing motions with a court to get a judge to change certain conditions of parole.
Most parolees are required to remain drug free and submit to drug testing. Some parolees are required to get a job and maintain employment. Others may have to enroll in a substance abuse program for treatment or counseling. If the parolee has any restitution or fines that are outstanding, they will be required to work with their parole officer to establish a schedule and pay their fines and restitution off. Violating any of the parole conditions will result in consequences. Not only can a parolee be charged for new crimes, but they will also have to face penalties for violating their parole conditions.
Accused of a Parole Violation?
What happens when a parolee is accused of a parole violation? Are they sent back to jail?
When a parolee violates a parole condition, their parole officer can either issue a warning for the violation or send the violation to the Court of Common Pleas. Parolees are still entitled to due process; they still have rights. This means that they are not sent directly back to jail or penalized until they have had a hearing that is similar to a standard criminal case proceeding, usually in front of the judge who first sentenced the parolee. Parolees are allowed to present their own evidence and witnesses at a Gagnon I hearing, which is informal and requires the probation officer to show probable cause for the violation.
If the court find that the probable cause is legitimate, the case will move onto a Gagnon II hearing. At the Gagnon II hearing, the judge will determine whether or not the parolee violated his or her parole conditions and, if so, what the new sentence will be.
There is only one way to ensure a successful parole violation hearing. Contact an experienced Philadelphia criminal defense attorney at van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin to find out how we can help you. Call us today for a risk-free, no-obligation case evaluation at (215) 486-0123