8 Things to Know About Parole Violation in Colorado
If you’ve been charged with a parole violation in Colorado, know a loved one who has been charged, or want to avoid a parole violation, this article is for you.
The United States has one of the largest correctional populations in the world. In addition to millions of imprisoned adults, this population also includes individuals under parole.
Parole can be an excellent opportunity for offenders who have exhibited good behavior to leave prison early. Parolees serve out the remainder of their sentence in the community under the supervision of a parole officer.
But parole also involves certain risks. In fact, an estimated 61,000 Americans are currently imprisoned because of minor parole violations.
That number doesn’t need to include you.
Conditions of Parole
The only way to avoid violating parole is to first understand its conditions. The terms of parole vary widely from state to state and often include both broad and specific guidelines. In Colorado, the conditions of a specific individual’s parole are determined by a judge during a parole hearing.
Depending on the parolee’s specific needs, the terms of their parole might include specific requirements, such as attending mental health counseling or paying restitution to a victim. To qualify for parole, an individual must sign a statement agreeing to abide by these conditions.
Types of Parole Violation in Colorado
In general, there are two types of parole violation: technical and substantive.
A technical parole violation in Colorado is a violation of terms set by the judge at the parole hearing. This could include testing positive for drugs, failing to show up to a scheduled meeting with a parole officer, or violating curfew.
By contrast, a substantive violation occurs when a parolee commits a new crime not related to their original sentence. This includes crimes like a domestic disturbance or a DUI. In the case of a substantive violation, a parolee risks re-arrest.
What Happens if I Violate the Terms of My Parole?
That depends on a number of factors. Many of the consequences of parole violation in Colorado are left up to the discretion of your parole officer.
In many cases, a parole officer will exercise leniency in the case of a first offense, especially for technical violations. Keep in mind, however, that the officer is not obligated to do this. If the parole officer decides to report a violation, this can result in arrest
Conditions for Arrest or Summons
If a parolee is believed to have violated their parole, the prosecutor may decide to issue a warrant for arrest.
In order to be arrested for parole violation in Colorado, one of the following conditions must be present:
- An arrest warrant has been made. Or, there is probable cause to believe that an arrest warrant has been made in Colorado or another state.
- The parolee has committed an offense in the presence of a parole officer. Or, the parole officer has probable cause to believe that the parolee has committed a crime.
- The parolee has violated a condition of parole, or the parole officer has cause to believe that the parolee has done so. This can include cause to believe that the parolee has the intent to leave the state. It can also include a positive test for the use of illegal drugs.
Alternatively, rather than arresting the parolee, the parole officer may decide instead to issue a summons. In this case, the parolee would then be required to appear before the parole board at a scheduled time for a hearing.
The Ten-Day Rule
Colorado law requires a parole officer to complete his or her investigation within ten business days of a parolee’s arrest. After that time has passed, the officer must take one of three courses of action.
First, the parole officer can write a complaint. This is a formal document that outlines the parole violation and would lead to a hearing on revocation of parole.
Second, the officer could dismiss the warrant. In this case, the parolee would be released, and free to continue their parole.
Or third, the officer can release the parolee on the condition that they appear before a parole board. At this appearance, the parolee would be required to answer for the charges brought against them.
A Hearing for Revocation
In order for a parolee to have their parole revoked, there must be a hearing of revocation. Whether initiated by arrest or by summons, this hearing must be carried out within a “reasonable” time frame. The state of Colorado defines this as 30 days.
If the hearing before the parole board will consider revocation, that complaint must be filed at least two days before the hearing. This is intended to give the parolee time to defend himself.
What Happens at the Hearing?
Once a parolee appears at a hearing before the parole board, what happens next often depends on the nature of the violation. If the parolee has committed a new crime, this typically results in a re-arrest. If the violation is technical, however, there are a few possible outcomes.
In some cases, the board may decide to revoke parole and house the parolee in a correctional facility for 90 to 180 days. In other cases, the board may recommend that the parolee serve the remainder of their sentence in corrections. The decision depends on the nature of the original crime and the nature of the offense.
Appealing the Decision
If the board decides to revoke parole, the parolee has 30 days to appeal that decision. Examples of the basis for an appeal include an irregularity in the hearing or newly discovered evidence.
In most cases, however, decisions to revoke parole are upheld. This is why it is important to have an attorney represent you at your hearing. This is the best way to ensure that your case is properly represented.
Knowing Your Rights
It’s important for parolees to know what their rights are if they are charged with a parole violation in Colorado. This the best way to successfully finish their time and reenter society.
If you have more questions, or you need representation regarding a parole violation in Colorado, contact us. We are dedicated to working with you to help you move past your legal troubles.