A parole revocation hearing is a hearing before a member of the Colorado State Board of Parole to determine whether parole should be taken away after an inmate has already been released on parole, and the inmate returned to custody. In this article, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers will address:
- 1. What is a “revocation hearing” in Colorado?
- 2. Can the board take back parole after I am already out on parole?
- 3. Can I be arrested by a parole officer?
- 4. Can my lawyer represent me during a revocation hearing?
- 5. What happens after a revocation hearing?
You may also wish to see our articles on application interviews before the Colorado Parole Board and parole recission hearings in Colorado.
After an inmate has been released on parole, that release can be taken back and the inmate returned to incarceration, if it is found that the inmate has not followed the conditions of parole. A revocation hearing is a hearing to determine whether parole should be taken back, or “revoked.”1
A revocation hearing is held before one member of the Colorado State Parole Board. The parolee is entitled to basic fairness, but sometimes evidence that would not be admissible at a trial can be admitted at a revocation hearing. Strict rules of evidence that apply in a court of law do not always have to be followed at a revocation hearing, where the parole board member can hear any evidence that is of value in proving or disproving any part of the case.2
Yes. Even after an inmate has been released on parole, the inmate could be sent back to incarceration, if he or she fails to comply with the conditions of parole. For example, possession of a firearm by a previous offender, commission of a new offense including a drug felony, or removal of an electronic monitoring device are violations that require the parole officer to file a complaint for revocation.3
Each inmate released on parole is required to follow specific conditions of a parole agreement in order to remain on parole, and is assigned a parole officer who will monitor whether the conditions are followed or violated. If the inmate violates a condition of the parole agreement, the parole officer or anyone else aware of the violation can report it.
If a condition is violated, the parole officer may and in some instances must file a complaint for a revocation hearing, and the parole board can revoke parole. Some violations without an underlying criminal offense may result in other measures, such as a talk with the parole officer, substance abuse treatment, or a brief period in jail, while for other violations the parole officer must file for a revocation hearing.
Common conditions of parole supervision, which can be changed or added to by the parole officer or parole board, include:
- Release: Upon release from the institution, parolee shall go directly to designated parole office.
- Residence: Parolee shall establish a residence of record and shall reside at such residence in fact and on record; shall remain at residence of record each night unless otherwise authorized by the parole officer; parolee shall not change residence of record without the consent of the parole officer; and shall not leave the area paroled to without permission of the parole officer.
- Conduct: Parolee shall obey all State/Federal laws and Municipal ordinances. Parolee shall follow the directives of the parole officer at all times.
- Report: Parolee shall make written and in person reports as directed to the parole officer and shall permit visits to his/her place of residence as required by the parole officer/parolee shall submit urinalysis or other tests for narcotics or chemical agents upon the request of the parole officer, and is required to pay for all tests.
- Weapons: Parolee shall not own, possess, nor have under his control or his custody, firearms or other deadly weapons.
- Association: Parolee shall not associate with any person with a criminal record without the permission of the parole officer.
- Employment: Parolee shall seek and obtain employment, or shall participate in a full time educational or vocational program, unless waived by the parole officer.
- Alcohol/Drugs: Parolee shall not abuse alcoholic beverages, medical or recreational marijuana or possess and/or use illegal drugs.
- Child Support: Parolee shall comply with any court or administrative order to pay child support.4
In general, if the violation is a technical one and there is no criminal offense underlying the violation, a parole officer must consider intermediate sanctions, drug treatment or other support services, or modification of parole conditions, before filing a revocation complaint.5
But if the parolee has received up to four intermediate sanctions committing the parolee to a brief term in jail, or if there is a heightened risk to public safety, the parole officer may bypass intermediate sanctions and file a complaint for revocation.6
In addition, if a parolee fails more than one drug test, a parole officer may make an immediate warrantless arrest, and may seek parole revocation.7
There are also situations that are seen as so dangerous to public safety, that the parole officer has no discretion if such situations occur and is required to file a complaint seeking revocation. These situations are when the parolee:
- Is found in possession of a deadly weapon,
- Is arrested and charged with:
- Has removed or tampered with an electronic monitoring device (as long as this was not the result of equipment malfunction).8
A criminal court case may also be held, in which case the revocation hearing will be delayed until the case is finished.9
If the board member finds the parolee guilty of any of the above but decides not to revoke parole, the hearing will be reviewed by two more board members, who can overturn that decision and revoke parole.10
Violating the conditions of parole, intentionally or unintentionally, can have serious consequences, and there are many ways a parolee can end up having parole revoked and being returned to custody.
Yes. Any parole officer can arrest a parolee for a number of reasons, based on things the parolee does while on parole, or might do.
For example, a parole officer can arrest a parolee if the parole officer has probable cause to believe that:
- the parolee has committed a crime,
- is about to leave the state,
- has violated a condition of parole and will fail to appear before the board to answer charges, or
- has committed a technical violation of parole where no criminal offense was involved but the parole officer has already tried intermediate sanctions, treatment, and support services.11
A parole officer can also arrest a parolee based on reasonable belief that the arrest is necessary to:
- prevent serious bodily injury to the parolee or any other person, or
- to prevent the commission of a crime.12
Whenever a parole officer has reasonable grounds to believe that a parolee has violated a condition of parole, instead of arresting the parolee, the parole officer may issue a summons requiring the parolee to appear before the board.13 But if a parolee is arrested, the parole officer has 10 days in which to:
- file a complaint to the parole board for revocation of parole,
- order the release of the parolee and restore parole, or
- order the release of the parolee and issue a summons requiring the parolee to appear before the board to answer charges of violating the conditions of parole. 14
If a parolee is arrested while on parole, parole might be revoked at a revocation hearing, and the offender returned to incarceration.
Yes. The parolee will receive a copy of the revocation complaint and will need to plead guilty or not guilty at the revocation hearing. The parolee can be represented by his or her lawyer, and may testify and present witnesses and evidence.15
For example, the parolee may testify or not, and the parolee or lawyer
- can defend against the parole violation charges with witnesses or documents,
- can show mitigating circumstances, or
- can explain the parolee's behavior and argue that parole should not be revoked or should be modified.16
Any evidence can be admissible at a revocation hearing if it helps prove any fact on either side, even if it wouldn't be admissible in court, as long as the parolee is given a fair opportunity to rebut hearsay evidence. The parolee has the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses, unless the parole board finds good cause for not allowing confrontation of an informer.17
If the parolee pleads not guilty at the revocation hearing, the division of adult parole will have the burden of establishing, by a preponderance of the evidence, that parole was violated. Or, if the complaint for revocation alleges a criminal offense, this must be established beyond a reasonable doubt, unless the parolee was convicted in a criminal proceeding.18 If the parolee is convicted of a criminal offense while on parole, this will be seen as conclusive proof of a parole violation.19
If parole is revoked, the parolee or the parolee's attorney can appeal the parole revocation, within 30 days of the revocation hearing. The parolee will remain in custody during the appeal.20
A lawyer can represent a parolee during and after a revocation hearing, such as to argue that the parolee did not violate parole, or that there were special circumstances, to present or cross-examine witnesses, or to file an appeal if parole is revoked.
After a revocation hearing, the parole board might revoke parole and send the parolee back to custody for the rest of the term of parole, or for a shorter amount of time, depending on the type of parole violation. Or, parole might be modified in some way, such as to send the parolee to drug treatment.
If the board determines that the parolee violated conditions of parole, the board has 5 working days to:
- revoke parole,
- continue parole, or
- modify the conditions of parole.21
If the presiding board member decides not to revoke parole, the hearing will be reviewed by two more board members, who can overturn that decision and revoke parole.
If a violation is found
If the board decides that the parolee violated parole by committing a crime, the board can revoke parole and send the parolee to custody for up to the remainder of the parole period.22 If the board decides that parole was violated but not through a crime, parole can still be revoked and the parolee returned to custody for the rest of the parole period.23
If parole was violated through certain types of drug offenses, and there is no pending felony criminal charge, parole can be revoked and the parolee can be kept in custody for up to 30 or 90 days depending on the type of drug charge.24 These exceptions with a shorter incarceration term do not apply in the case of stalking or unlawful sexual behavior, or if the parolee is found to be a sexually violent predator. In those cases, if the board revokes parole, the parolee can be returned to incarceration for up to the full remainder of the parole period.25
Another possible outcome after a revocation hearing is that the board might determine that the parolee is in need of treatment. If so, the board can modify the parole conditions to include participation in an outpatient or residential program for
- substance abuse,
- mental health disorders, or
- other behavioral health disorders.26
There could also be instances where the parolee might request that parole be revoked. If this happens, the parolee has to give the board a justifiable reason for requesting revocation of parole,27 and the board may intervene to assist the parolee with reintegration and prevent a return to incarceration.28 Or, if the board does revoke parole at the request of the parolee, the above rules will still apply.29
In any case, if parole is revoked, parolee's time in custody does not erase the parolee's remaining period of parole, unless the term of custody is the same amount of time as the remaining period of parole.30
There are a variety of outcomes possible after a revocation hearing, depending on circumstances such as the type of parole violation that the parolee committed.
If you are facing a revocation hearing, or think that you may have violated a condition of your parole, or have been arrested while on parole, talk to your lawyer. Your Colorado criminal defense attorney can tell you more about the process and what options you have.
Call us for help...
If you or a loved one is struggling with problems while on parole that could lead to a parole violation, please contact us at Colorado Legal Defense Group. Our caring Colorado criminal defense attorneys have many years of experience representing people who are in jail and waiting to get out, or who are out on parole and don't want to see their liberty taken away. We are among the best Colorado attorneys to call. Contact us today for a free consultation by phone or in-person in our Denver law office.
Arrested in California? See our article on California parole violation hearings.
Arrested in Nevada? See our article on Nevada parole violation hearings.
8 Code of Colorado Regulations (CCR) 1511-1, Rules Governing the State Board of Parole and Parole Proceedings, Rule 1.00 Definitions (“Revocation Hearing” – a Hearing held on a Complaint held to determine whether Parole should be revoked and whether the Parolee should be returned to a CDoC facility.
8 CCR 1511-1, Rule 13.02 Presiding Board Members (“In Revocation Hearings, one Member of the Board shall hear the case to a conclusion, unless the Chairperson assigns another Member due to the illness of
unavailability of the first Member. § 17-2-103(2)(b), C.R.S. The Parolee may appeal to two
Members of the Board. Such appeal shall be on the record. § 17-2-103(2)(b), C.R.S.)
§17-2-103.5 (1) C.R.S.
Retrieved from https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdoc/adult-parole September 22, 2018
§17-2-103 (1.5) C.R.S.
§17-2-103 (1.5) (g) C.R.S.
§17-2-102 (8.5) (b) C.R.S.
§17-2-103.5 (1) C.R.S.
§17-2-103.5 (1) (c) C.R.S.
§17-2-103.5 (2) C.R.S.
§17-2-103 (3) (a) C.R.S.
§17-2-103 (5) C.R.S.
§17-2-103 (8) C.R.S.
§17-2-103 (9) (a) C.R.S.
§17-2-103 (9) (b) C.R.S.
§17-2-201 (9) (c) C.R.S.
§17-2-103 (11) (a) C.R.S.
§17-2-201 (11) (b) (I) C.R.S.
§17-2-201 (11) (b) (II) C.R.S.
§17-2-201 (11) (b) (III) and (III.5) C.R.S.
§17-2-201 (11) (b) (III.5) and (VI) C.R.S.
§17-2-201 (11) (c) C.R.S.
§17-2-201 (13) (a) C.R.S.
§17-2-201 (13) (b) C.R.S.
§17-2-201 (13) (c) C.R.S.
§17-2-201 (14) C.R.S.