All people are guaranteed due process rights under the 5th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. At its core, due process is the requirement that the government respect all of our rights and administer justice fairly and according to proper legal procedures. Most people think of due process as only being important after an arrest, but due process applies in any situation in which you encounter the legal process – including during parole hearings.
When you have been released on parole, your parole can be revoked at any time if the conditions for your release are not met. The courts have considered this to be a fair punishment as parole is considered a privilege and not a right. However, you still have a right to due process before your parole is revoked – and that means you’re entitled to a hearing during which the government must demonstrate that revoking your parole is legally justified.
Elements of Parole Hearings Required to Satisfy Due Process Requirements
Parole hearings must meet certain requirements in order to satisfy due process. Before your parole can be revoked, you have a right to:
- Notice: You have the right to receive written notice of the charges against you.
- Informal Hearing to Determine If There Is Cause: You have the right to an informal hearing to determine whether reasonable grounds exist for revocation of parole immediately following your arrest.
- Ability to Testify and Produce Evidence: You have the right to tell your side of the story and give evidence that would back up your claim.
- Disclosure of All Evidence Against Defendant: You have the right to know what evidence that will be used against you in the formal hearing.
- Opportunity to Examine Witnesses: You have the right to question the witnesses speaking out against you.
- Substantively Correct Facts: The facts used in the decision should be credibly true.
- Formal Hearing Within a Reasonable Timeframe: You have the right to a fair hearing and speedy justice.
- Right to an Attorney: You have the right to a lawyer who can counter the charges formally and protect your rights.
All of these things must be provided to you in order for a parole revocation to be legitimate, yet few people take advantage of these rights. The result is that many people are simply sent back to jail when they may have been able to stay out on parole. Due process is an important constitutional right intended to protect you from government overreach. When facing a possible parole revocation, you should make sure that all of your rights are protected with the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney.
If you have been accused of violating parole, contact an Ohio criminal defense attorney right away to help you fight the charges and possibly keep your freedom. Call us Luftman, Heck, & Associates today at (614) 500-3836 to find out how we may be able to help.