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Dealing with a parole or probation violation can be really stressful. You may be worried about going back to jail. But there are things you can do to help get your violation cleared up or at least avoid jail time. I wanted to give you a quick overview of some tips that could help.
First things first, you need to meet with your parole/probation officer (PPO). Be honest with them about what happened and why you violated your conditions. Express that you want to fix the issue and get back into compliance.
Your PPO may be willing to work with you, especially if this is your first violation. They might adjust your conditions or connect you with services to help get you back on track. Just be cooperative and show you’re taking it seriously.
You’ll definitely want to get a lawyer to advocate for you. An experienced parole violation attorney can negotiate with your PPO and the courts on your behalf.
Some things a lawyer could do:
Public defenders are free but have large caseloads. A private lawyer with expertise in this area may be able to devote more time and resources to your defense.
Judges and parole boards look favorably on people who take accountability for their actions. Own up to the violation and sincerely commit to getting back on track.
Then actually follow through. Stick to your parole/probation terms going forward, whether it’s checking in with your PPO, passing drug tests, attending mandated programs, etc.
Actions speak louder than words so prove you’re committed to getting your life together. That can go a long way in avoiding jail time.
If substance abuse or mental health issues contributed to your violation, get help. Voluntarily entering rehab or counseling shows the court you’re working to fix the underlying problems.
Judges may allow you to complete treatment instead of jail. And it’ll help with parole decisions down the road.
In many cases you have a right to a parole revocation hearing before jail time is ordered. This is your chance to explain mitigating circumstances and present evidence from witnesses, employers, counselors, etc.
A lawyer can help navigate the hearing process and put together the strongest defense argument. You’ll also want support letters from people who can vouch for your character and positive changes.
There are sometimes sentencing alternatives that can take the place of jail:
A lawyer can request these options or others that fit your situation. The judge will consider factors like your criminal history, compliance level, rehab efforts, and community ties when deciding sentencing.
If facing the parole board or judge, be polite and respectful. Point out any progress you’ve made and positive steps since the violation like entering counseling, holding a job, etc.
Note any hardships jail time would cause your family or ask for mercy based on health issues or unique circumstances. While there are no guarantees, asking sincerely for leniency can sometimes help influence sentencing decisions.
Sometimes even if you follow all the rules, a violation still occurs – a relapse, missed check-in, failed drug test, etc. Try not to panic. One misstep doesn’t necessarily mean jail time.
Judges understand that people make mistakes. What often matters most is how you handle it going forward. Do you take accountability and get back on track? Or disregard the terms and keep violating?
Your overall attitude and compliance record affects sentencing so don’t dig yourself deeper. Stay calm, get a lawyer, and take the steps above to resolve your violation in a positive way.
I hope these tips give you a good starting point for avoiding jail time. Let me know if you have any other questions!
Meeting with Parole Officer – https://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/dealing-with-parole-probation-violations
Public Defender vs Private Lawyer – https://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/hiring-a-criminal-lawyer-vs-public-defender.html
Taking Responsibility for Parole Violations – https://www.shouselaw.com/ca/blog/criminal-defense/how-do-i-get-my-parole-reinstated-after-a-violation-in-california/
Parole Revocation Hearings – https://www.brennandefenselaw.com/parole-revocation-hearings-in-new-york/
Community Service Sentencing – https://www.nycourts.gov/courts/nyc/criminal/specialized_parts.shtml
Home Confinement Sentencing – https://www.brennandefenselaw.com/understanding-home-confinement-as-a-type-of-punishment-in-new-york/
Work Release Programs – https://doccs.ny.gov/work-release-programs
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