A parole revocation hearing is a hearing before a member of the Colorado State Board of Paroleto 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 Denver 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.
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.
1. What is a revocation hearing 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
2. Can the board take back parole after I am already out on parole?
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
Very serious parole violations
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:
- A felony,
- A misdemeanorassault involving a deadly weapon or resulting in bodily injury,
- Sexual assault in the third degree, or
- Unlawful sexual contact, or
- 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
Parole hearing review
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.
Any parole officer can arrest a parolee for a number of reasons, based on things the parolee does while on parole, or might do.
3. Can I be arrested by a parole officer?
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 a 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
Summons v. arrests
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.
The parolee can be represented by his or her lawyer, and may testify and present witnesses and evidence.
4. Can my lawyer represent me during a revocation hearing?
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
Parole hearing rules
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.
5. What happens after a revocation hearing?
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 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
Treatment instead of revocation
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
Parolees requesting revocation
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, the 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.
Contact us for help with your case.
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.
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 CDC 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 ofunavailability 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://cdoc.colorado.gov/.
- §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 C.R.S.
- §17-2-103 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.
Parole revocation often results from technical violations, the most common reason for such reversals. These are breaches of the specific conditions set for the parolee, which don't necessarily involve committing new criminal offenses.How long can they hold you in jail for a parole violation in Colorado? ›
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.What happens when you violate parole for the first time in Colorado? ›
If a parole officer has reasonable grounds to believe that a condition of parole has been violated by any parolee, he or she may issue a summons and complaint to revoke requiring the parolee to appear before the board at a specified time and place to answer charges of violation of one or more conditions of parole.Can a true or false violation of parole conditions result in parole revocation? ›
Yes. A parolee must abide by the conditions of release, and parole may be revoked if any of them are violated. Parolees will remain under supervision until the expiration of his or her sentence unless the Commission terminates supervision earlier.What are the three types of revocation? ›
Types of Revocation
Intentional revocation. Revocation by operation of law. Mutual cancellation by both parties.
The most common probation violations include:
Failing to pay fines or restitution. Failing drug and alcohol tests. Failing to maintain employment. Incomplete community service.
Some of the most common parole violations include: Failure to report to an assigned probation officer. Failure to report moving or leaving the geographic area without permission. Failing to take or pass a drug test.What is the longest you can be on parole? ›
How long does parole last? In most cases, the length of parole depends upon the crime that was committed and the behavior of the criminal. Typically, parole will not last longer than five years. However, parole can last for the rest of a prisoner's life.What percentage of a sentence do you serve? ›
The general rule is that a defendant serves 50 percent of his or her sentence while in prison. (Pen. Code §2933.) However, if the current offense is listed as a “violent felony” in Penal Code §667.5(c), the defendant serves 85 percent of the prison sentence.What are the rules for parole in Colorado? ›
Colorado law specifies that any person sentenced for a class 2, class 3, class 4, class 5, or class 6 felony, or any unclassified felony, is eligible for parole after serving 50 percent of the imposed sentence, less earned time (up to ten days per month).
Section 8 CCR 1511-1-15.00 - Early Parole Discharge A. The Full Board shall review requests from the Division for consideration for early discharge from Parole. Four affirmative votes are necessary to affect an early discharge.What is the statute 17 2 103 in Colorado? ›
A community parole officer may request that the board issue a warrant for the arrest of a parolee for violation of the conditions of his or her parole by filing a complaint with the board showing probable cause to believe that the parolee has violated a condition of his or her parole.Which level of evidence is used in probation and parole revocation hearings? ›
"Preponderance of evidence" is the level of evidence is used in probation and parole revocation hearings.Which step does not occur during the formal revocation of parole? ›
Which step does NOT occur during the formal revocation of parole? Trial by jury.What is the most common reason for revocation of parole quizlet? ›
Which of the following is one of the most frequent reasons why probation or parole is revoked? The offender fails to report to a parole or probation officer as required. This is one of the most frequent violations for which revocation occurs.What are the most common parole violations? ›
Some of the most common parole violations include: Failure to report to an assigned probation officer. Failure to report moving or leaving the geographic area without permission. Failing to take or pass a drug test.What is one reason a persons parole may be denied? ›
The factors of unsuitability include the inmate's (1) commitment offense, (2) previous record of violence, (3) unstable social history, (4) prior sadistic sexual offenses, (5) psychological factors, including the prisoner's history of mental problems related to the crime, and (6) institutional misconduct in prison or ...What is the main cause of revocation of probation? ›
Committing a New Offense
New criminal charges that result in criminal conviction during your probation period will mostly result in the judge revoking the initial probation. Not committing a new crime is among the major conditions of probation.
Most frequent violations for which revocation occurs include: Failure to report as required. Failure to participate in treatment programs. Alcohol or drug abuse while under supervision.