Parole and probation are both forms of “conditional release” from jail or prison. This means that once an inmate is paroled or a defendant is given probation, he or she must adhere to the specific terms of release in order to remain out of jail or prison.
Terms of release are court ordered and vary by case, but there are many elements of probation and parole that are common to most cases:
While probation violation and parole violation may each send a person to jail or prison, the process for each violation is different.
Parole is a form of early release that is granted to some prison inmates when they have earned credits, demonstrated good behavior, proven that they have committed to improving themselves, and shown that they are unlikely to reoffend.
However, when the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board grants parole to someone, it expects that the person will adhere to the terms of the parole and continue to stay out of trouble and be a productive citizen.
If a person violates parole, the parole officer initiates the parole revocation process by notifying the Department of Corrections, who will issue a warrant. The offender may then either waive the revocation hearing and let an Administrative Law Judge make a decision based on the offender’s “jacket” or DOC file, or request a hearing.
At a revocation hearing, the ALJ and the Pardon and Parole Board will hear evidence from both sides before the ALJ makes a determination regarding parole:
In the case of violent offenders, the ALJ recommendation is sent to the governor, who has the final say.
Probation is often given as part of a deferred sentence or suspended sentence. This may allow a defendant to spend all or part of the sentence out of jail or prison.
In the case of a deferred sentence, the judge delays conviction, giving the defendant time to complete probation instead of jail. At the conclusion of the probationary term, if the defendant successfully adhered to his or her probation, the plea is changed from “guilty” to “not guilty” and the case is dismissed. In this case, there is no criminal conviction.
If the defendant violates probation, however, the district attorney may file a Motion to Accelerate (MTA) sentencing. If the motion is granted, the judge will throw out the probation, accept the guilty plea, and sentence the defendant to jail or prison. In this case, the defendant faces the full sentence for his or her conviction and does not earn “credit” for time in compliance with probation.
In the case of a suspended sentence, a defendant is convicted of a crime but allowed to serve some or all of the sentence as probation rather than jail or prison. If the person violates probation in a suspended sentence, the district attorney may file a Motion to Revoke (MTR) the suspension. If the MTR is granted, the judge may send the offender to jail or prison for the remainder of the sentence.
If you have been accused of violating parole and are facing a revocation hearing, or if you are accused of violating probation and are facing a Motion to Revoke or Accelerate, a criminal defense attorney can help you fight allegations of violation. To learn more, or for a free consultation, call attorney Ryan Coventon of Coventon Criminal Defense at (405) 417-3842 or submit our online case review form.