People often confuse parole and probation—and not without reason, since they both are alternatives to serving jail time available to Michigan convicts. But there are important differences between the two.
After a trial, a convict may be sentenced to probation, which means he or she will remain free but under close supervision. Parole, on the other hand, is available to jailed convicts who are nearing the end of their terms. Probationers come under the jurisdiction of the courts while parolees are supervised by the Michigan Department of Corrections.
How Does Parole Work?
When a prisoner is nearing the end of his or her minimum term, the Parole Board may consider whether an early release on parole is appropriate.
The eligibility for parole is governed by Section 791.233b of the Michigan Penal Code. The parole board must review all facts and considerations of the prisoner’s case, including his or her mental and social attitude. The board may authorize parole when there is a “reasonable assurance” that the prisoner will not be a menace to society or public safety upon release.
Once released, a parolee must strictly obey all of the conditions of the parole for a period of time fixed by the parole board. If the parolee successfully satisfies the condition of parole, he or she is deemed to have served a full sentence. However, the consequences for parole violations in Michigan can be serious.
What Are the Consequences of Michigan Parole Violations?
Whenever a parole officer or a member of law enforcement has reasonable grounds to believe that a parolee has violated parole, they have the authority to arrest and detain the parolee without the need to obtain a warrant.
The detained parolee is entitled to a preliminary hearing within 10 days of the arrest for the alleged violation of parole. The accused parolee must be given written notice of the charges, time, place, and purpose of the preliminary hearing. In addition, the accused parolee has the right to:
- A disclosure of the evidence being used to prove the violation
- Testify and present witnesses and documentary evidence
- Confront and cross-examine the witnesses being used to prove the violation—unless there’s a risk that the witness may be harmed if his or her identity is revealed
For serious parole violations, it’s likely the parolee will be sent back to jail. But for technical parole violations, the parolee may face alternative sanctions that will likely result in a longer parole term or stricter conditions.
How a Skilled Michigan Criminal Attorney Can Help
The preliminary hearing for parole violations is not unlike a trial. With a skilled Michigan criminal defense attorney by his or her side, the parolee has a greater chance of successfully demonstrating that a violation did not occur, or was not serious enough to warrant a return to jail. The attorney can study the evidence of the violation and find ways to overcome it. He or she can also skillfully cross-examine the adverse witnesses to minimize or discredit their testimony.
If you’re facing a preliminary hearing for a parole violation, you should call an experienced Michigan criminal lawyer to assist you. Maurice Davis of the Davis Law Group is available today to give you a free and confidential consultation of your case. Call us at (313) 818-3238 to schedule an appointment.