What is a preliminary hearing in Texas parole? A Houston parole lawyers explains what it is and why to not waive your preliminary hearing.
There are two types of hearings that can take place when they are trying to revoke your parole. One is called a revocation hearing and the other is called a preliminary hearing. The purpose of the preliminary hearing is to determine whether probable cause exists to believe that the parolee has violated a condition of the parole. Texas law states this hearing must take place within a reasonable time. The purpose of the hearing is to ensure that if the parole board is keeping someone in jail on a warrant there is probable cause to believe that a parole violation occurred. The two main exceptions to this law are when a parolee waives the preliminary hearing or if the parolee has been charged only with an administrative violation.
After the preliminary hearing a decision is made regarding whether the evidence is sufficient to justify holding the parolee in custody in order to go forward to a revocation hearing. If probable cause is found the hearing officer will decide if the case goes to a revocation hearing and ask if the offender wants to waive the hearing. If the offender waives the hearing or the hearing officer decides the case should not go to a revocation hearing a report will be sent to the Parole Panel for a decision. The Parole Panel can order a revocation hearing, continue supervision and order new conditions, or in cases where the parolee waived the revocation hearing they can revoke parole. If the offender did not waive the revocation hearing they cannot revoke parole.
An offender should never waive either the preliminary hearing or a revocation hearing. The reason that offenders are given these hearings is because the Supreme Court has ruled that parolee’s have certain rights under the 14th amendment and the State must honor those rights before taking away their freedom. Among these rights is the right to a preliminary hearing where a neutral and detached body will hear the evidence and determine if there is probable cause that the parolee violated a condition of parole. A parolee has the right to know the evidence being used against them and the opportunity to be heard and present their own witnesses and evidence. The parole officer has the burden to prove by a preponderance of evidence that a parolee violated a condition of parole and by waiving your right to a hearing you are also waiving your right to cross-examine the parole officer, present other evidence and you are making it much easier for them to revoke your parole and take away your freedom. Contrary to what some parole officers unfortunately tell parolees there is no benefit to waiving a preliminary hearing, just like in spite of what some police officers tell suspects there is no benefit in waiving ones right to remain silent.
At Topek and Topek we believe in defending your rights and doing everything possible to stop the parole board from revoking your parole. A preliminary hearing is a parolees first chance to face the accusations made against them and the initial opportunity to avoid having parole revoked. If you have questions about preliminary hearings or revocation hearings and why having a lawyer with you is a good idea please contact us at 713-651-1444 or fill out our secure online contact form. Our offices are in Houston Texas but we travel to Montgomery County, Fort Bend County, Galveston County, Brazoria County and other surrounding counties to represent parolees at preliminary and revocation hearings.