Pennsylvania’s system of parole for certain prisoners who are eligible was first established by the Pennsylvania Parole Act of 1941. The act later created the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole. It defines parole as a release of prisoners after they have served the minimum sentences but have not reached their maximum sentences.
Parole is a conditional release, meaning that someone can be returned to prison to serve out his or her sentence if he or she violates the conditions of parole. If you are placed on parole, you will serve out the remainder of your sentence in the community, but you will be supervised by the Parole Board/Office. If you are accused of violating your parole, it is important for you to get legal help from an experienced lawyer at DiCindio Law. We may be able to defend against the violation and help to get your parole reinstated rather than you returning to prison.
How is parole viewed in Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania, the ability of a prisoner to get parole is viewed as a privilege instead of as a right. While it is possible for anyone who has served the minimum sentence to be paroled, there are many steps involved with the state parole system.
You will be required to create a re-entry plan together with a parole agent. Your case will be reviewed before you are granted an interview by the State Parole Board. In general, your interview will be scheduled approximately four months before you reach your minimum sentence date. If you are granted parole, you will have to complete a checklist of conditions before you will be released. Once you are released, you must report to the community corrections or district parole office shortly after release.
There are always conditions that are associated with parole. You might have rules about where you are allowed to live, how frequently you have to meet with your parole officer, and how much restitution you have to pay and when you must pay it. You may also have additional requirements according to your particular circumstances. The rules that you must follow will apply until you have reached your maximum sentence.
What types of parole violators are there?
Parole violators in Pennsylvania fall into two different types, including convicted violators and technical violators. Convicted violators are parolees who commit a new crime, which violates their parole. They may be held in custody until the new charges are resolved. After that, their parole may be revoked.
Technical violators are people who violate the terms and conditions of their parole. The outcome of technical violations will depend on the particular violation. Technical violators may be given sanctions, sent to mandatory treatment, or sent back to serve the remainder of their sentences in prison.
What happens when you violate parole in Pennsylvania?
Violating the conditions of state or county parole can lead to many different sanctions. You might have to take more drug tests, have a curfew assigned, be required to participate in different programs, attend and successfully complete inpatient treatment, or to spend time in the Parole Violator Center. This is a facility from which you cannot leave for 60 to 120 days. In order to return home, you must successfully complete a program. If you do not complete the program within the required time period, you will be sent back to prison. If you are convicted of a new crime, stop seeing your parole officer, or are alleged to have engaged in assaultive behavior, you may also be sent back to prison until you reach your maximum sentence for the underlying offense.
If you are detained for violating your parole, you will have the right to have two hearings. The first hearing is a preliminary hearing that is used for accusations of technical violations of your parole. This first level hearing must occur within 14 days of when you have been detained. This same type of hearing occurs for a county parole violation, as well. Its purpose is to determine whether you should be allowed to remain on parole or if the Parole Board should continue detaining you for a second level hearing. This hearing must be held within 120 days of your detention date. At this hearing, it will be determined whether your parole should be continued or revoked. At this hearing, it can be found that you should be sent back to prison if your violations of parole are proven by a preponderance of the evidence. At the county level, a judge will make the decision.
You are allowed to have an attorney to represent you at both hearings. If you go to your hearing and say that you want a lawyer, but there is no attorney present for you, the hearing officer must document your request and end the proceedings.
If you disagree with the conclusions that you obtain at either hearing, you are able to appeal them. Through your attorney, you can submit a letter to the Board of Probation and Parole stating why you believe that the findings from the hearing are wrong. You must send this letter on your own or through your lawyer no later than 30 days following the date that appears on the decision if you want your appeal to be considered. At the county level if you are unhappy with your parole violation sentence you have rights to appeal and/or as the judge to reconsider the sentence imposed.
After the State Board of Probation and Parole receives your letter, an employee that is chosen by the chair will review the decision that was made in your parole violation hearing. He or she will only be allowed to determine whether the hearing officer’s decision was supported by substantial evidence, whether the decision violated constitutional law, or whether the hearing officer made an error of law.
Why should you get help from a lawyer for a parole violation?
When you are accused of violating your parole, you may face multiple consequences and may be sent back to prison. An experienced criminal defense lawyer may have a thorough understanding of the applicable laws and might help to raise a strong defense to the allegations against you. If your parole officer has accused you of violating your parole, it is a good idea to contact the DiCindio Law firm today to schedule an appointment.
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.
Michael D. DiCindio, Esq. is a West Chester criminal defense lawyer and personal injury attorney who represents individuals accused of crimes or injured by the negligence of others throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale