A New York City Criminal Attorney Explains “Parole”
Definition of Parole
PAROLE is the release of prisoners prior to the end of their terms of sentencing with their release contingent upon behavior. Parole is often confused with probation and can be problematic. An individual on parole is still under sentencing, he or she is just serving that time outside of confinement. Any violation of the terms of his parole will result in the individual returning to incarceration.
Allegations of PAROLE VIOLATIONS result in what is known as a “Morrissey Hearing”. These hearings are somewhat “informal” and are used to determine if the violation is factual and verifiable.
Parole is the provisional discharge of an inmate who meets and agrees to certain conditions before the completion of the maximum sentence.
Parole differs from amnesty or commutation of sentence. When on parole, parolees are still serving their sentence and may be sent back to prison if they interrupt the conditions of their parole. Terms or conditions of parole may include obeying the law, not using drugs and/or alcohol, avoiding contact with the parolee’s victims, get a job and maintaining contact with the designated parole officer.
What is Probation
Probation means a testing to determine character and qualification. Probation is a court’s clemency under which a harsher sentence is suspected and substituted with a milder one with the understanding and agreement that the harsher sentence will be imposed if the convicted fails to follow the terms and conditions of probation.
Probation refers to a deferred punishment meted out as part of a sentence. A judge may order that an individual report to a probation officer instead of jailing the offender. Failure to keep the terms and conditions of probation is a criminal offense and typically results in the offender being immediately arrested and jailed and made subject to the harsher sentence that had been deferred by the probation order.
Who is eligible for Parole?
Often, inmates in the New York State Corrections Department are eligible for parole before the completion of their full sentence. While inmates on parole are technically still in the custody of the state’s department of corrections, they are still serving their sentence. Parole is approved or denied following a parole hearing with the first hearing usually held after an inmate has served the smallest part of the sentence.
Although the terms “parole” and “probation” refer to two separate types of status, the terms will be used interchangeably here for brevity. Many times the conditions attached to one status are very similar to conditions attached to the other.
Appealing a Parole Board Decision
Frequently, inmates are not given parole after their first hearing before the Board of Parole. Often, inmates are denied parole following each hearing. Over the past two decades, parole rates have dropped, especially for inmates serving time due to a violent crime.
If an inmate is denied parole, they still have the right to appeal. An appeal must be filed within 30 days of their application’s rejection. In addition to having the right to appeal, an inmate also has the right to be represented by legal counsel. The appeal course consists of a written legal memo, submitted to the Board of Parole, within the 30-day window of opportunity.
Parole Violation and Revocation
Parole revocation occurs when a parole officer files a violation of parole accusation, which usually results in the abrupt seizure of the parolee. Once in custody, the parolee is permitted to a preliminary hearing. During this hearing, the parole officer only needs to provide the barest amount of evidence of a violation.
The proceeding includes the parole officer as a witness, a prosecutor who works for the Department of Corrections, the parolee and his attorney, if the accused has hired one. If the parolee loses the hearing, parole is typically immediately revoked, and the remainder of the original prison sentence must be served.
Hire a Parole Attorney with Bukh Law Firm
The parameters of parole and probation can range over many possibilities. Too many, in fact, for a layman to understand. Believe it or not, parole and probation officers have been known to make mistakes, jump to conclusions and even file unwarranted allegations. When your freedom is at risk, contact Bukh Law Firm immediately to talk about your situation with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
You May be Facing Greater Risks than You Know
Regardless of the reason for your probation or parole to be threatened, it is imperative to take it seriously. A violation of even the smallest condition of your probation/parole can:
- Bring the maximum sentence of your original offense — and not receive credit for time spent on probation, or
- A return to state prison for the balance of your parole/probation
A probationer or parolee is allowed a hearing or appeal to fight any alleged parole/probation violation. Far too often, unprepared individuals try to face this difficult situation alone. Worse than facing it alone is delaying in seeking legal counsel from an experienced defense attorney.
At Bukh Law Firm, we know the laws, procedures and policies that apply. Our extensive experience in many areas of criminal defense is your best assets.
The “gut feeling” of attorneys with less experience is to plead for mercy. Bukh Law Firm are prepared to fully argue your case. You have too much at stake. We can help in pursuing each piece of evidence that could be helpful in safeguarding your freedom.
If you are alleged to have dishonored your parole or probation agreement, the wheels of justice are already turning, and you need to take prompt and immediate action to avoid an injustice that will cost you your freedom.