Maryland man gets 5 years for parole violation

When a Maryland court grants parole to someone convicted of a crime, judges generally view it as a light sentence. After all, parole is generally preferable to jail time. When people violate their parole, then, parole officers usually view it as violation of trust and offer very little leniency. Jail time often follows.

But parole violations are not always so cut-and-dry. Often, violations can be for small, technical problems, issues that may have an explanation. Occasionally, those accused of a parole violation can successfully arrange to have their parole reinstated at their hearing.

Those who are unable to successfully contest the accusations against them often face serious jail time. Take, for example, a Maryland man who was recently sentenced to five years in prison for a theft-related parole violation.

The man had previously been convicted of several smaller charges, each one short enough to be served in a local jail. Upon his release, he began a small job for a retired veteran he met at his church. The work went unfinished, however, and some tools belonging to the veteran went missing.

The man was called in for a parole violation hearing, at which he made an “Alfred plea,” which essentially states that he pleads innocent, but acknowledges that there is enough evidence to find him guilty if the case went to trial.

As a result of the Alfred plea, the man was found guilty of Theft Less than $1,000. He was also sentenced to jail time for the offense for which he was paroled, second-degree assault. The charges add up to a five-year sentence, which he will serve in a state prison.

Source:  The Bay Net, “Five years jail imposed for theft, parole violation” Dick Myers, Sep. 05, 2013

Woman mistakenly released despite probation violation sentence

Although many inmates unsuccessfully fight to be released on parole, one Maryland woman did not have to put any effort in at all. That is because she was mistakenly released from a women’s prison before her sentence was completed. The error appears to be caused by a clerical misstep, as an additional sentence term was never added to the books.

Official reports show that the woman was serving two concurrent terms for first-degree burglary and property crimes, which were served in the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women beginning last summer. The woman’s full sentence comprised more than a decade in custody, but she was slated for early release through supervised probation. The woman has received approval in March for parole, but she returned to prison months later after a probation violation. The woman had also violated parole in connection with a June 2012 conviction, for which she received an additional two-year sentence.

However, information about the additional sentence levied against the woman after the most recent violation was never recorded by the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. The woman was released mistakenly in early December after only her first probation violation had been served. Authorities say the woman was taken into custody on Dec. 20 without incident.

This case provides a prime example of the paperwork missteps that can cause probation and parole woes for inmates throughout the state of Maryland. Those criminal defendants can suffer because of misplaced or misinterpreted paperwork. As a result, they may be subject to additional penalties or even termination of probation, which can lead to an additional prison sentence. Criminal defense attorneys can help protect the rights of these criminal defendants, who deserve not only a fair legal proceeding but also proper handling of their probation and parole paperwork.

Source:  Baltimore Sun, “Inmate in Jessup women’s prison released early by mistake” Colin Campbell, Dec. 19, 2013

Probation violation for man who smoked weed before meeting?

Two men were arrested in Worcester County, Maryland, in early February after their companion admitted to smoking marijuana before a probation meeting. The incident, which occurred on Jan. 30, led to the arrest of a 21-year-old and a 24-year-old, both of whom were sitting in a vehicle outside the Office of Parole and Probation. Their 25-year-old friend told his probation officer that he had smoked in the vehicle before going to his appointment. News reports do not indicate whether that man has been charged with a probation violation in connection with the incident.

After the man told his probation officer that he had just smoked marijuana in a car with his friends, deputies were dispatched to the parking lot to find the vehicle. Those officers found the two defendants in a vehicle that smelled strongly of marijuana. The older occupant is from Millsboro and the younger back-seat passenger is from Georgetown. Authorities say that they searched the vehicle, reportedly discovering a pipe and a bag of marijuana. Both of the individuals in the vehicle were arrested and charged with drug possession and possession of paraphernalia.

Authorities report that the 25-year-old man who met with his probation officer has an outstanding warrant in Delaware. However, Delaware has decided not to pursue extradition. That young man was released from custody at the scene. News reports do not indicate whether his admission of drug use will have an effect on his probation status.

This man was apparently honest with his parole officer, which may have allowed him to avoid additional penalties in the matter. It is still not clear whether termination of probation is pending. The terms of probation in this instance have not been disclosed through news reports. Maryland attorneys may be able to help those on probation learn more about the terms of their own probation agreements.

What is probation and is it a better than jail in Maryland?

If you’ve been convicted of a crime and now face time on probation, you need to understand what probation really means to you. Probation is simply the suspension of a jail sentence; that means that instead of spending your time in jail, you can live in your home, stay in your community and participate in the actions approved by the courts.

There are certain court-ordered rules that you will have to follow. You will have a probation officer that you have to speak to regularly to make sure you’re following the law as required. Your time on probation will be determined by the courts, but it typically lasts up to three years.

There are a number of conditions of probation that you’ll have to follow. Yours may vary, but some that are often used include meeting with your probation officer at regular intervals and at set times, going to court for appearances when required, avoiding going to restricted places or avoiding the people you aren’t allowed to see according to the court order. Typically, you can’t travel out of state without approval from your probation officer, which means you can’t take trips that aren’t approved. You may also have to submit drug or alcohol tests when asked.

If you violate probation, then you may have to spend time in jail, have an extended period of probation or even have your probation revoked. You could have to face heavier probation terms, like wearing an ankle tracker or be forced to pay large fines.

Because of the varied options available to the courts, you need to have someone on your side when these decisions are made. Make sure you protect your best interests and know your legal options.

Source: FindLaw, “Probation FAQ” Oct. 24, 2014

What is parole? How does it work in Maryland?

As someone on parole, you may be curious about what will happen at your hearing and what you can do to stay on the law’s good side while you finish your sentence. Parole hearings are opportunities for you to discuss and present your case and why you should be allowed out of prison or jail on parole. Your past criminal history and other factors will help the court determine if you should be able to be released on parole.

When a decision is made, you will either be given or denied parole. It will take approximately 21 days for the decision about your parole to come through the system and to be delivered to you. During that time, you may be kept in prison or under house arrest depending on your situation.

If you don’t agree with the parole decision, you are able to appeal it just like any other decision a court makes. You may be given a new hearing in some cases, especially if it can be proven that the court did not act fairly. You have 30 days to request an appeal in your case and after that, you may have to wait for your parole to come up again.

Once you’re on parole, you are able to work again. Any kind of legitimate employment opportunity is acceptable by the courts. Full-time work is always preferable to the courts, but if you can only get part-time work, this is also good. Any job that is stationery — as in you don’t have to travel regularly to do your job — is likely to be approved by the courts.

When it comes to parole, there are many questions you may have. Speaking with someone familiar with the laws in Maryland can help you make the best decision about parole or to appeal parole in the case that it’s denied.

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Violating parole: The risk of losing your freedom

What does it actually take to send someone who breaks the rules of parole back to prison? Is it something you should worry about? What happens if you violate parole?

It’s actually more difficult to be returned to prison that you think, but it can happen. In most cases, violating a protection order, failing a urine test for drugs or even getting a DUI doesn’t automatically mean you’re going back to prison. Why? The Criminal Justice Reform Act has been put into place, and that means those on parole may get more than one chance to get their lives together.

When you get out of prison on parole, you’ll have to sign an agreement. This agreement may have some varying conditions, but they tend to be standardized. If you violate parole, there is a violation severity key that will be followed to determine what happens in your case.

For example, if you commit a new felony offense that is either Class 5 or 6, it’s probable that your supervisor will have to review what happened and determine where to go from there. A Class 2 misdemeanor, when committed by a low-risk offender, is normally treated informally.

If you test positive for marijuana, it’s considered a low-level offense in most cases, and that means you may have to write an apology or perhaps log in with your parole officer each day. You could also lose your driving privileges or have electronics removed from your home.

In any case, violating your parole doesn’t automatically mean you’re going back to prison. Your attorney can help you understand what may happen if you’re concerned about your freedom after a violation.

Source: Argus Leader, “What does it take to send a parolee back to prison?,” John Hult, accessed Jan. 26, 2016

The difference between parole and probation in Colorado

If you’ve been accused of a crime, you want to understand the potential punishments. If you face probation or parole, you’ll need to understand what those terms imply. They are very different and mean different things for your future.

Parole is a conditional release from prison that criminal offenders may receive. When a prisoner is up for parole, he or she may go before a parole board who will then make the decision on whether or not he should be allowed out of prison. Parole is also when a prisoner is released on statute. For instance, if the prisoner will be released with active supervision, that would be an example of being released on statute.

When you think about parole, realize that it means you’ve already been convicted and imprisoned. It’s not possible to go from trial to parole in the same way that you can go from trial into probation.

Probation is when you are placed in the supervision of the community through a probation agency. You may have a probation officer that you must report to. Probation is completed in lieu of incarceration, so that means you may never have to go to prison. However, if probation is violated, you could be forced to go to jail or prison instead.

While a person is on probation, he or she will be expected to comply with all conditions of the release. For instance, if you were told you must have a job, can only travel within 10 miles and need to stay away from certain people, these demands must be met in order for you to remain free and on probation. The violation of these terms could result in you going to court and prison.

Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, “FAQ Detail” accessed Feb. 17, 2015

Council member’s son placed on probation for violent outburst

There are some cases when you can be accused of crimes for situations that seem minor at the time but that can also come back to haunt you later. Seemingly innocent comments or arguments with an employee or worker at a business could end up resulting in assault or other charges that you then have to deal with in court.

Making threats can sometimes be enough to get you in trouble with the law. Freedom of speech only goes so far, and when you become violent or threatening, the police are able to charge you with a crime. In cases like this one, those charges can lead to probation or other penalties.

A report from May 20 discussed how the son of a council member was sentenced to supervised probation for a year because of a violent outburst he had in a bank in downtown Washington, D.C. According to the story, the man had been at a PNC bank and was planning to take money out to pay his employees. He had, on record, $44,000 in the account. As the tellers were counting out the money, a manager allegedly intervened and started having a heated conversation with the man.

The defense claimed that the bank manager told the man that he wouldn’t get any money if he was going to have an attitude. Legally, the bank would not be able to withhold funds that aren’t restricted and belong to a customer. It’s not clear why the bank manager intervened with the withdrawal, but the altercation resulted in the man being charged with assault, making threats and property damage. He pleaded guilty, taking a plea deal.

Source: WUSA 9, “Christopher Barry gets probation for bank outburst,” Delia Goncalves, May 20, 2015

What is parole, and how does it work in Maryland?

Parole is an interesting option for some people who find themselves imprisoned. Like everywhere in the United States, parole can be offered to prisoners in Maryland after they serve a certain amount of time on their sentence. Not all people can get parole, so if you’re confused about your situation, you may want to speak with an attorney to find out if you can be released on parole or not.

With parole, you’re released on the condition that you do not re-offend. There are two kinds of parole you could find yourself offered. The first is discretionary, which is when a parole board decides to release you based on a determination made that you are eligible. This may be based on your behavior in prison or other factors.

With mandatory parole, the second kind of parole, parole is built into the sentence. For example, if you are sentenced to 10 years in prison and two years on parole, the last two years of your sentence will not be spent in prison but instead on a supervised release.

When you’re released on parole, you need to make sure to follow all the directions given by the court. Some conditions may be that you can’t leave the jurisdiction, that you can’t drink or take drugs, or that you commit no more offenses of the kind that your sentence was based on. Because parole is seen as a privilege, it can be taken away, and you could be placed back in prison if you violate the law. Your attorney can help you if you do misstep, though, because there may be other methods of handling technical violations of parole.

Source: Justice Policy, “The Release Valve: Parole in Maryland,” accessed Nov. 11, 2015

What happens if you violate probation?

If you violate probation, you could be in trouble with the courts. A violation can result in you returning to prison or suffering other consequences, like heavy fines or extended probationary periods.

Violations of probation are usually spelled out for you, so you don’t make the mistake. However, it can be possible to mistakenly violate parole by forgetting to go to a court date, forgetting to call or visit your probation officer, or not paying a fine you’re meant to pay.

Once the probation has been violated, you’ll either receive a warning or a request to appear in front of the court. Probationary officers have discretion in this situation, so if it was a sincere mix-up, you may be able to get away with a warning. Beware, though, because a probation officer also gets to determine the kind of penalties that are requested. Your attorney may want to discuss what happened with the probation officer, so he or she can talk with you about the potential penalties you’ll be facing.

If you are found guilty of violating your probation, then you will have to face sentencing after your hearing. You may have to go to jail for a short time, or you may have to serve a remaining sentence when your probation is revoked. Before you’re found guilty, you will have a chance to explain yourself to the judge. You can work with your attorney to show why you violated your probation and explain how you can prevent it from happening again. With the right attitude and explanation, it may be possible to lessen your sentence or to have your probation violation dropped.

Source: FindLaw, “Probation Violation,” accessed Dec. 24, 2015