Comprehensive Guide to Parole Violations in New Jersey
Violation of Parole and What to Expect in NJ
Violating parole can be worse than going back to prison. If you violate the parole terms, you could face a more extended, harsher prison sentence than the original one. In addition, you could ruin your chances for future parole. However, not all violations are equal. A parole officer may counsel you for a minor offense and not report it to the review board. Also, a parole review board may consider unintentional violations differently than intentional ones, allowing room for alternatives to incarceration, but nothing is guaranteed.
If your arrest follows a parole violation in New Jersey, you need to hire a criminal defense attorney immediately for your parole violation review hearing. Getting out in front of the allegations that you violated the conditions of your parole is essential if you want to stay out of jail and avoid parole revocation. Our talented team of criminal defense lawyers zealously defends those facing parole violations of many different kinds throughout New Jersey. Contact us for immediate assistance and a free consultation at (201)-556-1570.
A Look at Parole Violation Accusations in New Jersey
A parole violation accusation occurs when you violate your parole terms. When you leave prison on parole, you agree to follow parole terms and conditions under penalty of parole revocation. Parole terms typically require the parolee to check in with their parole officer and submit to drug testing, curfews, and periodic searches. Some conditions require you to live in certain places, stay away from specific individuals, and get permission to leave the state. Also, of course, you may not commit a crime. You are subject to parole revocation when you violate one of the terms.
Top Two Ways to Face Parole Revocation in NJ
Violating the terms of parole or committing a crime are two ways to face parole revocation. For instance, when you arrive home after curfew, you violate your parole terms and may go before a State Parole Board Revocation Hearing Unit officer. Common examples of violations are breaking curfew, job loss, drug test failure, gambling, missed anger management classes, missed court dates, firearm possession, or failure to report to your parole officer.
When the state charges you with a new criminal offense, you will typically not face parole revocation with the parole board through the hearing process until after the final disposition of your criminal case. After all, your new criminal case may end in a dismissal or not guilty verdict. If it does not, however, you may be forced to serve the rest of your parole term in prison, plus the additional time associated with a new crime.
How do Parole Violation Cases Get Started?
Your parole officer reports violations to the Revocation Hearing Board, which starts the revocation process, including an arrest and formal charges for violating parole. Your parole officer may first require you to report them and give a statement admitting to the facts constituting the violation. At this point, you want to avoid giving the parole board revocation officer any incriminating evidence that can be used against you. Unlike criminal prosecutions, you have no right to a jury or trial. However, you do have a right to an attorney who can review the charges and investigate evidence supporting them, including the parole officer’s supervisory report of all contacts with you.
Two Main Phases of the Parole Revocation Process in New Jersey
The Probable Cause Hearing
If you are accused of violating your parole, a probable cause hearing before an official of the State Parole Board Revocation Hearing Unit soon follows. At this first hearing, the presiding officer decides whether probable cause for the charges exists. Here, you could escape parole revocation if the officer decides there are insufficient grounds to revoke parole, but a finding of probable cause sends you to the next hearing.
The Revocation Hearing
Once the State Parole Board Revocation Hearing Unit appointee provides the probable cause hearing summary to the board that determines you violated parole conditions, your case goes to a revocation hearing. The second hearing is closer to a trial where you can testify, present favorable evidence, object to the parole office’s evidence, and cross-examine witnesses. The main witness against you is typically your parole officer, but you may also bring witnesses to contradict the parole officer or otherwise support your defense. The board must establish the parole violation by clear and convincing evidence, meaning evidence that shows a high probability that the breach occurred.
Alternatively, your attorney may convince the board to sentence you to prison alternatives, such as stricter parole terms or programs to address the violation’s cause, such as drug rehabilitation. For example, your curfew violation may be due to pulling off the road and sleeping to avoid an accident. Perhaps you were exhausted and driving amidst bad weather conditions so you drove home hours later, too tired to safely drive home. You may have saved yourself an accident but arrived home after curfew. At your attorney’s insistence with convincing arguments, the hearing officer may recommend that certain additional special conditions be imposed rather than sending you to prison, especially if your lengthy record is otherwise clear of violations.
Potential Aftermath of a Parole Revocation Hearing in NJ
Afterward, the hearing officer presents their written findings to the parole board. If they conclude that the violation warrants, the defendant will face sentencing, where the board panel may decide to send you back to prison to complete your sentence. They may also decide to impose a later date at which your parole ends or add more stringent conditions with which you must comply while your parole continues.
Even if the board finds your excuse was not justifiable and revokes parole, you may appeal the decision, win on appeal, and remain out of prison on parole. Otherwise, you return to prison for the remainder of your term. A parolee has 45 days to appeal the decision to the Superior Court, Appellate Division.
Stay out of Jail with a Skilled New Jersey Parole Violation Defense Attorney
You have a distinct advantage with an attorney when you are in danger of parole revocation. At The Tormey Law Firm, our criminal defense attorneys can be instrumental in receiving and reviewing the evidence against you. With our legal background and depth of knowledge about parole violations, we can potentially find weaknesses to exploit for your benefit at a parole revocation hearing. More importantly, we can often impress upon the decision-makers that you unintentionally violated parole terms or need more resources to help you battle substance abuse, gambling, or another addiction.
You want a strong advocate to demonstrate that you can fulfill your probation provisions and that returning to prison would reverse your progress in reintegrating into society as a productive member. Our team of criminal defense lawyers is experienced in this specific area and we are ready to put all of our skills to work on your behalf. If you have been accused of violating parole in NJ, you should take the risk of going it alone. Contact (201)-556-1570 to talk to an attorney who can handle your parole violation charges. We are available anytime, day or night, to provide you with a free consultation.