You were probably overjoyed to learn that the Arkansas Parole Board had approved you for parole. The time you spent behind bars was likely not pleasant, and you really have no desire to go back. With some careful planning and good decisions, you may get your wish and spend the remainder of your sentence in the real world, perhaps rebuilding your life.
Eligibility for parole usually begins after you have spent one third of your sentence incarcerated. You may have met with a panel to answer their questions so they could determine if you were fit for release to serve the rest of your sentence unconfined. However, just because you are free from a cell doesn’t mean you are out of the woods. You have conditions to live by and the ever-present threat of your return to prison.
Conditions of your release
Part of your parole is the understanding that you will abide by certain requirements the Parole Board places on you. For example, your conditions may prohibit you from drinking alcohol and forbid you from associating with people who have criminal records. The Board may require you to find and maintain employment, and you will certainly have to seek approval if you want to move or travel out of state.
Of course, you must obey the law. If police arrest you while you are on parole, it may not go well for you. In fact, failing to abide by any of the conditions of your parole will place you in violation, and you may face penalties including:
- A warrant for your arrest
- Revocation of parole and return to jail to complete your sentence
- Elimination of any early release from your parole terms
- Fines for any infractions and potentially for your parole violation
If your parole violation included charges of another crime, you now face the possibility of the sentence for a conviction added to your current jail time. However, even if you are on parole when police arrest you, you still have the right to a fair trial before further penalties are imposed.
Your freedom on the line
Unfortunately for you, the burden of proof for a parole violation is not very high. In fact, a hearing for a parole violation seldom happens before a judge or jury. Instead, parole officers will hear the testimony of witnesses and submit their report to the Parole Board. The Board will then vote on whether to revoke your parole or allow you to remain free.
The accusation of a parole violation is nothing to take lightly. You certainly don’t want to leave your future to chance. Having legal counsel from the earliest part of the process may make an important difference in the outcome of your case.