If you violate the conditions of your parole, you go back to prison, but if you get accused of a parole violation, you have the right to a parole hearing to determine whether you can remain free.
Hope gets people through the hardest times in their lives. When you hear a judge pronounce a prison sentence for you, even if you were expecting it because it was part of a plea deal, you may immediately start concentrating on the time when you will become eligible for parole and doing everything you can to get your parole approved when your next court date comes. You might even hire a lawyer to represent you in your case for parole. While you are on parole, though, you are always in danger of going back to prison, even if you are on your best behavior. Parole violations have serious consequences, and because of this, if you get accused of a parole violation, you have the right to representation by an Austin parole violations defense lawyer.
How Much Freedom Do You Have While on Parole?
Being on parole is a lot better than being behind bars, but there are still a lot of restrictions. The court requires some parolees to reside in halfway houses, where there is a strict curfew, and to participate in certain work programs or job training programs, instead of just applying for jobs on their own. These are some other common conditions of parole:
- Attending substance abuse treatment, twelve-step meetings, mental health counseling, or anger management classes
- Only driving motor vehicles equipped with ignition interlock devices
- Not leaving the county where you are on parole
- Avoiding certain people (such as an ex-romantic partner or the friends who were with you when you got arrested)
- Avoiding certain places (such as not going within 500 feet of a school)
- Meeting regularly with your parole officer
- Paying fees associated with your parole
- Drug testing
With so many restrictions associated with parole, it is easy to see how a minor mishap could lead to a parole violation. If you get stuck in traffic, for example, you could miss an AA meeting or an appointment with a parole officer. If you give your mother money for her rent or utilities, you might not be able to pay your parole-associated fees.
The Rights of Defendants Accused of Parole Violations
If you get accused of a parole violation, you have the right to due process, namely a parole violation hearing in which a defense lawyer can represent you. At your hearing, you can argue that the conditions of your parole were impossible to fulfill, that the parole officer is nitpicking to find fault with you (and has consistently done so), that the parole violation happened for reasons beyond your control, or that your conduct while on parole has been exemplary except for one minor mistake (such as oversleeping and being late to work).
A Parole Violations Defense Lawyer Can Help You Keep Your Hard-Won Freedom
A criminal defense lawyer can help you exercise your legal right to due process when you are on parole. Contact Granger and Mueller in Austin, Texas or call (512)474-9999.