If you have been convicted of a crime in the State of Colorado, placed on parole by the Colorado State Parole Board, and subsequently charged with a violation of your parole, you will need legal help immediately. You’ll need to contact a Leadville parole violation attorney.

How does parole work in this state? What are the most common parole violations, and how are those violations penalized? If a parolee has been wrongly accused of a parole violation, what is that parolee’s recourse?

If you’ll keep reading, you will learn the answers to these questions and more about parole and parole violations in Colorado. As of 2020, more than 9,000 convicted criminal offenders are parolees in this state.

How Does Parole Work in Colorado?

Colorado offers parole to convicted criminal offenders who qualify for a supervised release from custody, but parole entails a number of terms and conditions. Parole authorities take a number of factors into account when they determine the precise terms and conditions for each parolee.

Parolees are usually assessed by a parole officer within the first thirty days of their release from prison, and they are subsequently reassessed twice a year.

What Are the Typical Conditions of Parole?

The law in Colorado requires every parolee to submit to random drug and alcohol testing as a condition of parole. Beyond that requirement, every parolee’s specific parole terms and conditions are unique, but those conditions and terms usually include:

1. acquiring and maintaining a job and residence
2. the avoidance of criminal acquaintances
3. regular check-ins with a supervising parole officer
4. compliance with any court order regarding child support

How Does Colorado Classify Parole Violations?

A parolee may be penalized or even returned to a Colorado prison depending on the specifics of any parole violation. A parole violation in Colorado may be classified as either “technical” or “substantive.”

Technical parole violations are failures to adhere to the court-ordered instructions given to the parolee at his or her parole hearing. These instructions are based on the circumstances of the parolee’s criminal conviction as well as his or her behavior while in custody.

A substantive parole violation is a new crime committed by a parolee apart from the original crime and conviction. The most common substantive violations are drug crimes, domestic violence, theft, assault, battery, driving under the influence, and weapons charges.

Technical parole violations may not be as serious as substantive violations but may still entail serious consequences. Typical examples of technical violations include failing a drug screen, failing to check in as required with a parole officer, and violating a curfew or a restraining order.

How Are Parole Violations Handled?

Depending on the nature of a suspected parole violation, parole officers may or may not have discretion regarding how the matter should be handled. In all cases, a parole officer must meet with his or her supervisor to determine an appropriate response.

Generally speaking, if a technical parole violation is not a criminal offense, a parole officer will consider “intermediate” sanctions such as drug treatment or a modification of the parole conditions before seeking to have the parole revoked and the parolee returned to prison.

When May a Parolee be Arrested?

However, if a parolee has already had up to four intermediate sanctions imposed, or if the parole officer believes that the parolee poses a risk to public safety, the parole officer may skip the intermediate sanctions, place the parolee under arrest, and file a parole revocation complaint.

Parole officers may arrest a parolee and file a parole revocation complaint if the parolee commits or is about to commit a new crime, fails two or more drug tests, is about to flee the state, may fail to appear at a parole revocation hearing, or if intermediate measures have failed.

The parole revocation complaint must be filed by the parole officer within a ten-day window after an arrest, or the parolee will be released and returned to parole. If a complaint is filed, a parole revocation hearing will be scheduled.

How Are Parole Revocation Hearings Conducted?

A parolee and his or her lawyer may review a revocation complaint, and at the hearing, they may offer evidence and testimony to challenge the complaint. Parolees should be represented by a Colorado criminal defense lawyer with substantial experience handling parole violation cases.

In parole revocation hearings, if you are the parolee who is accused of a violation, the right defense attorney will aggressively advocate on your behalf and explain why you should not be returned to a Colorado state prison.

A Colorado State Parole Board member presides at a parole revocation hearing. Because a parolee has already been convicted, the usual evidence rules do not apply, “beyond a reasonable doubt” is not the standard, and any evidence that may be pertinent to the case may be introduced.

What Happens After Parole Violation Hearings?

If the parole board holds that a parolee violated the conditions of his or her parole, it may revoke or continue the parole with no changes or continue it with modified terms and conditions.

If parole is not revoked, the case is reviewed by other Colorado State Parole Board members who may or may not reverse that decision and revoke parole.

When parole is revoked, the parolee may be returned to prison for the duration of his or her sentence. For some drug offenses that are not felonies, some parolees may be allowed to serve a lesser amount of time in custody.

There are several possible outcomes to a parole revocation hearing. The parole board may order a parolee to undergo residential or outpatient drug, alcohol, or mental health treatment, for example, as an additional condition of parole.

If you Make a Mistake – Or You’re Wrongly Accused

If you are fortunate enough to be paroled in Colorado, don’t take parole lightly. Parole is leniency. Take full advantage of the opportunity that you are being offered.

If you comply with the conditions and terms of your parole as ordered by the court, you will be able to remain in your home and community and avoid harsher penalties.

But if you make a mistake while you are on parole in Colorado, or if you are wrongly accused of violating the terms and conditions of your parole, your freedom and your future will be at stake, and you’ll need to contact a Leadville parole violation attorney as quickly as possible.