Parole is early release from prison. When parole is granted to an inmate by the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole, the parolee must obey certain rules and restrictions, which are called conditions of parole or conditions of release. If a parolee is accused of violating these conditions, serious consequences can result, including incarceration. The Board may decide to enhance the conditions of parole, or, if the violation is serious, even revoke parole altogether.
If you or one of your family members was arrested for violating parole in Salt Lake City, it is crucially important to get help from an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible. Turn to the law offices of Overson Law, PLLC for aggressive legal representation at every step of the way. Call Utah parole violation attorney Darwin Overson at (801) 758-2287 as soon as possible to set up a free and confidential legal consultation.
Parole Evidentiary Hearings
Parole is an opportunity to leave prison behind and get back to spending time with your family and friends. However, a violation can have disastrous repercussions for the parolee. Even a fairly minor violation can lead to the imposition of much tougher, more restrictive conditions, while a major violation could potentially place you back behind bars.
Depending on what sort of violation you have been accused of committing, you may be facing the possibility of prison time. It is extremely important that you contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible for legal assistance, guidance in Utah’s justice system, and aggressive representation at you or your loved one’s parole hearing. Salt Lake criminal lawyer Darwin Overson has more than 16 years of experience representing parolees charged with violating their conditions of release, including very serious violations involving new criminal charges.
At Overson Law, PLLC, we fight hard to resolve your case favorably, so that you can continue to enjoy your freedom with your loved ones. However, it’s important to act quickly if you or a family member have been accused of a parole violation in Utah. The sooner you contact Overson Law, PLLC for a free legal consultation, the sooner we can start analyzing your legal situation and developing a strategy. Our law firm handles criminal matters in Salt Lake County, Davis County, Rich County, Weber County, Box Elder County, Wasatch County, Summit County, Tooele County, and many other locations throughout the state of Utah.
Rules for Parolees: Standard Requirements and Conditions of Parole in Utah
According to the National Institute of Corrections, only a small number of individuals were on parole in Utah as of 2014. With only about 161 parolees reported per every 100,000 people – a number which, based on Utah’s population, adds up to about 4,740 parolees in total – Utah’s parole rate is approximately 40% lower than the national average.
Though Utah may have a small parolee population, a large percentage of its inmates are incarcerated for probation and parole violations: up to 67% as of 2013, according to an audit of Adult Probation & Parole (AP&P). Parolees can be sent back to prison if they commit major violations of their conditions of parole.
These conditions can vary from inmate to inmate, depending on the nature and severity of the offense for which the inmate was incarcerated. With some exceptions for convicted sex offenders and certain other types of inmates, who must obey more intensely restrictive rules, inmates are generally required to comply with the “standard” conditions of parole, which are regulated and enforced by the Utah Department of Corrections (DOC), AP&P, and the Board of Pardons and Parole, known as the BOPP or simply “the Board.”
Standard conditions of parole in Utah that are commonly violated include:
- Associating with people who are known criminals or otherwise involved in criminal activity, such as gang members or drug dealers.
- Disobeying curfews.
- Failing a drug test, or tampering with the results of a drug test.
- Failing a home search, vehicle search, or pat-down.
- Failing to find or actively search for a job, or failing to seek out the necessary training and/or education.
- Failing to notify a parole officer about an arrest within 48 hours of being arrested.
- Failing to obey laws.
- Failing to pay child support and/or victim restitution.
- Failing to pay fees to the DOC or AP&P, unless the fees have been waived.
- Failing to report to an assigned AP&P agent (failure to report to a parole officer).
- Fleeing from law enforcement.
- Leaving the state of Utah without getting permission from the parole officer.
- Possessing guns or other dangerous weapons, controlled substances like marijuana, child pornography, or other illegal materials.
- Providing false information to the DOC, AP&P, and/or the Board.
- Refusing to allow a parole officer to inspect the parolee’s home or apartment.
- Refusing to submit to a drug test.
If you are accused of breaking any of these rules, you will be reported to the Board, and a hearing will be scheduled to review the matter.
What to Expect at Your Parole Revocation Hearing Before the Utah Board of Pardons
Rule 671 (R671) of the Utah Administrative Code establishes a clear and explicit procedure for parole violation hearings. If the parolee denies the allegation or allegations at his or her parole revocation hearing, but the Board wishes to continue with the case, the process then goes through the following steps:
- The Board will schedule an evidentiary hearing, unless the parolee is convicted of a crime, in which case parole will be revoked.
- The parolee will receive notification that:
- Describes the date, place, and time for the evidentiary hearing
- Informs the parolee of his or her right to be represented by an attorney.
- Informs the parolee of his or her right to cross-examine witnesses and present evidence.
- At least 10 days before the hearing occurs, both sides will exchange a list of the evidence, documents, and witnesses to be called or used at the hearing.
- At the hearing, which will be presided over by either a hearing officer or Board member, each party will have the opportunity to make an opening statement and present evidence.
If the Board determines there is not enough evidence to justify an evidentiary hearing, the case will be reviewed by the Board. Under R671-516-4, “If a majority of the Board agrees [that there is insufficient evidence], the allegation shall be dismissed. If all allegations are dismissed, the Board’s warrant shall be vacated and the parolee [will be] released from custody and reinstated on parole.” In other words, if there is not enough evidence, the parolee will be freed and placed back on parole.
You should advised of the fact that parole hearings are generally open to the public. Unless there is an exception related to confidential information, anyone can choose to attend your hearing.
It is also very important for parolees to understand that the standard of proof is much lower at a parole hearing than it is at a criminal trial. In order for a defendant to be found guilty at trial, the prosecutor must show proof “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which means that a reasonable person could not, based on the evidence presented, conclude that the defendant is innocent. However, unlike an alleged crime, an alleged parole violation does not need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. There need only be a “preponderance of the evidence” that the violation occurred, which means it is more likely than not that the violation occurred.
Because the standard of proof is less demanding at a parole violation hearing than it is in a criminal case, it is also less difficult for the Department of Corrections to prove that a violation occurred. This is just one of the reasons quality legal representation is so essential at any hearing before the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole.
Our Salt Lake City Parole Violation Lawyers Can Help
Skilled and aggressive representation by a knowledgeable defense attorney can be the difference between going back to prison and keeping your freedom, especially if the violation was serious or involved the alleged commission of a new crime, such as weapons possession, drug possession, or possession of child pornography. Don’t face the charges without the benefit of legal support from a tough and tested parole violation lawyer in Salt Lake County. To set up a free legal consultation, call the law offices of Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 right away.