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New Jersey Probation And Parole Violation FAQ

I am Anthony N. Palumbo, a New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney with more than 35 years of experience defending people charged with probation and parole violations. As a former county and municipal prosecutor and a current public defender and criminal defense attorney, I have solid relationships with local judges, prosecutors, probation officers and parole officers. I understand how the state deals with probation and parole violation charges, and I know how to fight probation and parole revocation proceedings to best protect my clients’ rights.

This article provides answers to some of the most common questions about probation and parole violations in New Jersey. If you have other questions about probation and parole or need a Probation and Parole Violation Criminal Defense Lawyer to give you advice about the particular charges in your case, contact me today online or at 908-272-9700 for a free and confidential consultation. I can help explain the process to you and I’ll give you an honest assessment of the penalties you might be facing and the defenses that may be available to you.

What is the difference between probation and parole?

Probation is an alternative to incarceration for lower-risk offenders that allows them to serve out their sentences in the community under probationary supervision. Parole, on the other hand, is a conditional release from prison available to certain inmates after they have served a portion of their sentences with good behavior.

There are important differences between probation and parole, but both usually come with a variety of terms and conditions, such as regular appointments with a probation or parole officer, monthly payments, curfews, random drug and alcohol testing, electronic monitoring, education and employment requirements, community service, or counseling. A violation of parole or probation terms could lead to a revocation of probation or parole, the imposition of stricter conditions, and possibly jail time.

How can I avoid having my probation or parole revoked?

The best way to avoid a probation or parole revocation is to know all the terms of your probation or parole and to make every effort to comply with them. Because your probation or parole officer is responsible for reporting your progress and any violations, you should also try to establish a good relationship with him. If you miss an appointment or accidentally commit a minor violation, the officer might choose not to report it and just give you a warning instead.

What happens if I’m caught violating the terms of my probation?

Probation can seem like an easy sentence as opposed to incarceration, but if you violate the terms of probation you could end up facing the maximum prison term for the underlying offense. During a violation of probation hearing, the probation officer usually makes a recommendation to the judge regarding the punishment for violating probation, but the judge will also weigh other factors such as your previous criminal history, the severity of the underlying criminal charges, and whether the violation justifies revoking probation.

Can my probation be revoked even if my violation was accidental or minor?

The rules of probation can be complicated and difficult to comply with, and if you accidentally miss an appointment or commit a minor technical violation of probation, your probation officer might not report it, or the judge might impose stricter probation terms instead of revoking your probation and sentencing you to jail time. Repeated minor violations, however, could be treated less leniently.

What rights do I have if I’m accused of a probation violation?

Unfortunately, you don’t have as many rights in a probation violation hearing as you do when defending yourself against the original criminal charges. Under the New Jersey probation violation laws, there’s no right to a trial by jury, and the violation doesn’t need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, but only by clear and convincing evidence. The decision as to whether to revoke your probation privileges usually comes down to your word against the probation officer’s, and it can be difficult to convince a judge that you’re more credible than your probation officer. You do have a right to counsel, however, and a Probation Violation Attorney can help persuade the judge that you didn’t commit the alleged probation violation or that your violation doesn’t warrant strict penalties. Before pleading guilty to a violation, you should always consult with a Probation Violation Lawyer about defenses you might be able to raise in your case.

How are parole violation hearings different from probation violation hearings?

Parole violation proceedings are more rigid than probation violation hearings and parole officers have less influence regarding revocation decisions, even if you’re only charged with a minor or technical violation of parole. Instead of convincing the parole officer not to make a recommendation of parole revocation to the judge, your Parole Violation Defense Lawyer needs to focus on disproving the alleged violation and demonstrating that any violation you may have committed wasn’t serious or persistent enough to warrant parole revocation. If your parole is revoked, you’ll be ordered to return to prison to serve out the rest of your sentence, but the judge can also choose to impose less severe penalties, such as additional parole conditions and stricter supervision requirements.

What is a parole detainer?

If your parole officer has probable cause to believe that you’ve violated a condition of your parole, and if the evidence indicates that you might flee the authorities or that you pose a danger to public safety, a parole detainer can be issued authorizing your detention until the parole revocation hearing.

What rights do I have if I’m accused of a parole violation?

As with probation violation hearings, there is no right to a trial by jury during parole revocation proceedings and the violation doesn’t need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. However, you do have the right to have a parole lawyer, the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses, the right to testify and present evidence on your behalf, and the right to call your own witnesses. You should always consult with a parole attorney about possible parole revocation defenses that could prevent the judge from sending you back to prison or imposing other parole violation consequences.

How can a criminal defense attorney help in a probation or parole violation case?

If you’re facing probation or parole violation charges, you need a lawyer who has the knowledge, reputation, and negotiation skills to fight for your rights and prevent the judge from revoking your probation or parole and sentencing you to jail time. To speak with an experienced New Jersey Probation and Parole Violation Lawyer, call me, Anthony N. Palumbo, New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney, at 908-272-9700 for a free and confidential consultation. I can help to answer your questions about the legal procedures you’re facing and I can give you an honest assessment of your chances for avoiding revocation of your probation or parole.