The Difference Between Probation and Parole
Probation is an alternative to jail that affords people who have been convicted of a crime an opportunity to live in the community and work. Parole is for when people convicted of a crime have served a portion of their prison sentence and receive an early release.
What Does Parole or Probation Violation Mean?
When a person is on probation or parole, they are subject to certain conditions imposed by the court or the parole board. The terms are typically determined by the circumstances of the crime, your previous criminal history, and the likelihood of you reoffending. This means that each person may have their own unique list of conditions, some more restrictive than others.
If you violate your parole or probation, it means you didn’t follow the terms of your order or committed another crime. If you are accused of violating the terms of your probation or parole, you may face extremely serious legal penalties and should consult with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
You can count on the parole and probation attorneys at the Gasper Law Group to work to resolve the matter in a way that is most beneficial for you. Our probation and parole violation lawyers represent clients in El Paso County, Teller County, Pueblo County, Douglas County, Fremont County, and most of southern Colorado. If you are accused of violating probation or parole, contact us immediately for a free initial consultation.
How Often Do Probation and Parole Officers Visit?
Probation and parole officers (PPOs) do not have to give any notice of their visits. Sometimes visits are scheduled, while other times, PPOs show up when you least expect them. Visits may be done any day of the week and at any time. While they typically occur between 5am and 10pm, they may happen outside of those hours.
Probation and parole officers are allowed to visit a person’s place of employment, treatment provider, or residence and they have the right to search homes and vehicles. If your parole or probation sponsor denies entry to the residence, you will need to find another place to live right away.
Most visits with probation officers take place over the phone or in the probation officer’s office. In fact, it’s fairly common for a probation officer to never conduct a home visit for a less serious crime during the course of probation. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security: Just because your probation officer has never visited your home or workplace before doesn’t mean that they can’t.
Types of Parole and Probation Violations
There are two categories of potential violations: substantive and technical. Substantive violations are situations that are not related to the person’s original sentence and could lead to re-arrest, such as committing a new crime. Technical violations are when the person does not follow certain conditions of their order, such as not reporting to their PPO when they’re supposed to.
While technical violations may not seem as serious as substantive violations, they are considered equal and both can result in serious penalties. It also makes no difference when the alleged violation is committed during the term of probation. This means that whether you violate your parole or probation on the first day or the last day, you will still face the same amount of punishment.
The conditions of probation or parole can vary greatly and are usually related to the underlying offense of which the person on probation or parole has been convicted. For example, people who have been convicted of crimes related to drugs or alcohol may be subject to random drug tests, and violent offenders may be prohibited from owning weapons. Some examples of conduct that can constitute a violation of the terms of parole or probation include the following:
- Failing a drug or alcohol test (drug possession, drug trafficking, or DUI)
- Committing another crime
- Possessing a weapon
- Violating an order of protection (restraining order)
- Breaking a given curfew
- Failure to report to a parole or probation officer when required
- Failure to pay fines or fees
- Failure to attend counseling or classes
- Failure to update residence information
- Failure to attend treatment
- Failure to complete any other conditions imposed by the court or the parole board
What Happens When Probation or Parole Is Violated?
Violating your probation or parole has the potential to result in extremely serious penalties. If you are accused of violating your probation, you will have a court hearing, usually before the judge who sentenced you to probation. Unfortunately, in probation hearings, the judge decides the case on the burden of proof called “preponderance of evidence.” This means that if the judge believes you probably violated probation, they will simply rule that you are guilty. In many cases, courts order probation in cases where they suspend the imposition of a prison sentence, thus if the judge decides that probation was violated, the court has the power to impose the original terms of the sentence as well as additional penalties. The sole exception to this burden of proof is that new crimes need to be proven to the judge beyond a reasonable doubt.
If you are accused of violating your parole, you will have a hearing before a member of the Colorado State Parole Board. You will either wait for your Parole Board Hearing in jail or in the community on a summons. If the Parole Board decides that parole was violated, parole can be revoked and you can be sent back to prison.
How Our Probation and Parole Attorneys Can Help You
Fortunately, there are many ways that an experienced parole and probation attorney can help people who have been accused of violating their probation or parole. In some cases, the entire case may be the result of a misunderstanding or a misinterpretation of the conditions imposed by the court or the board. In others, it may be possible to negotiate an alternative penalty for the violation that does not involve incarceration, such as treatment, house arrest, work release, or community service.
If you have been accused of violating probation or parole, you need a competent and knowledgeable attorney by your side. The seasoned parole and probation violation attorneys at the Gasper Law Group have the skills and resources needed to effectively represent you and your best interests.
Depending on the facts of your case, our probation and parole violation lawyers can:
- Gather evidence and question witnesses to help defend against the violation charges
- Defend your behavior and argue against probation or parole revocation
- Show mitigating circumstances
- Explain why the terms of your probation or parole should be modified
- Negotiate and explore alternatives to probation or parole revocation
Contact Our Colorado Springs Parole and Probation Violation Lawyers
If you have been accused of violating the terms of your probation or parole, you should speak to an attorney as soon as you can. The attorneys at the Gasper Law Group are committed to protecting the rights of people who have been accused of probation or parole violations and do everything we can to keep them out of jail. Contact us today for a free initial consultation where we will discuss the facts of your case, inform you of the potential outcomes, and explain your legal rights.