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Parole and Probation Violations

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When an individual is convicted of a crime, he or she is sentenced to one or more penalties. Each charge has a specific set of penalties that individuals convicted of that charge can face, and when an individual is convicted, one or more of them are sentenced at the judge’s discretion.

In certain cases, a convicted defendant can be put on probation instead of being incarcerated. This is a supervision arrangement that keeps the individual out of jail, where he or she can continue to work and participate in society while complying with a specific set of guidelines imposed by the court. In cases where an individual does go to jail or prison, he or she may be given the option of parole after serving a specific period of time, which is a conditional release from incarceration that imposes similar requirements to probation. In many cases, a goal of a defendant’s criminal defense strategy is to have the court impose probation, rather than sending him or her to prison or jail.

The Difference Between Parole and Probation

Parole and probation share some similarities, but it is important to note their greatest difference: probation is an alternative to incarceration, whereas parole is an early release from incarceration. Both are subject to revocation if the individual on parole or probation violates the terms of his or her supervision.

In both cases, the individual must report to an officer at regularly specified intervals to ensure that he or she is in compliance with the terms of the probation or parole.

Parole and Probation Violations

Common requirements for parole and probation include:

  • Regular drug tests;
  • Complying with a curfew;
  • Attending counseling or drug education courses;
  • Court appearances; and
  • Not committing criminal offenses.

Violations can include failed drug tests, failure to meet with one’s supervisory officer when required to do so, and being arrested for a new alleged offense. If you are on probation or parole, discuss the terms of your supervision closely with your officer. You could be prohibited from taking a new job without his or her permission or leaving Wisconsin or the United States without permission. Not knowing the exact terms of your supervision could lead to an inadvertent violation.

Penalties for these Violations in Wisconsin

An individual can have his or her probation or parole revoked if the court finds that he or she willfully violated its terms. When an individual is accused of such a violation, he or she can be required to appear in court for a probation or parole violation hearing. Just like with the individual’s original charge, the court must prove that he or she willfully violated the terms of the supervision. If the defendant is found guilty, he or she can face penalties that include:

  • Fines;
  • Community service;
  • An increased probationary period;
  • Revocation of probation or parole, which means he or she must serve the remainder of his or her sentence behind bars;
  • Mandatory counseling or drug education; and
  • If the violation was due to a new criminal charge, additional criminal penalties if he or she is convicted of that charge.

Defenses to Charges of Parole or Probation Violation in Wisconsin

If you are charged with violating your probation or parole, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to develop an effective defense strategy for your case. Your defense strategy could involve one or more of the following:

  • A lack of intent to violate the terms of your probation or parole;
  • Your civil rights were violated in some way, such as an unlawful search or seizure that lead to a charge of using drugs;
  • In the case of a new offense, the offense was not criminal in nature. An example of this is a traffic violation; and
  • In a case where a term of the supervision was avoiding contact with another individual, evidence that contact was initiated by that other individual.

Work with an Experienced Appleton Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are facing a charge of violating your parole or probation, you need to work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to defend your case. Otherwise, you can face steep criminal penalties like incarceration and fines. Remember, probation and parole are privileges, not rights. To learn more about how to handle your parole or probation violation charge and get started on your defense, contact our Appleton criminal lawyers at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC today to set up your initial consultation in our office.

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