How Does Parole Work?
While criminal defendants have a number of legal rights guaranteed by the Constitution, it is important to understand that there is no legal right for a defendant to be granted a parole hearing.
Instead, the legal system views a parole hearing as an act of mercy and grace on the part of the court, meaning that there is no certainty that a defendant can receive a parole hearing.
That said, many Arizona defendants do receive parole with the assistance of an Arizona criminal defense lawyer.
Indeed, extensive nationwide research conducted by the University of Minnesota's Robina Institute of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice found that 147 Arizona residents were granted parole per 100,000 adult residents in 2014.
However, it is imperative that defendants choose the right Arizona criminal defense lawyer when seeking parole.
Arizona has a higher prison population rate than the typical American state, but Arizona's parole population is lower than other state rates.
In effect, despite the relatively large prison population in Arizona, receiving parole in Arizona can be relatively difficult to receive.
To understand how parole works in Arizona, one must first learn who is eligible to receive parole.
Parole Eligibility in Arizona
The state of Arizona prevents some defendants from being eligible for parole.
Regular parole is governed by § 41-1604.11(K) of the Arizona Revised Statutes.
Among other requirements, a defendant can only be eligible for regular parole if the defendant has successfully completed either one-half or two-thirds of the sentence imposed; alternatively, a defendant may be eligible for parole if the offense committed has a statutorily mandated minimum sentence that has been served by the defendant.
What Is Parole?
Many people confuse the concepts of parole and probation.
Probation refers to a process where convicted adult offenders can be supervised in their local Arizona community by a probation agency.
However, this is meant to replace incarceration and time spent behind bars and is granted before a convicted offender spends time in jail or prison.
Parole, by contrast, conditionally releases a convicted defendant from prison, but the released prisoner is then required to serve the remainder of the prison sentence in the community.
Effectively, this is where probation and parole differ since parole applies only to inmates who have already been serving part of their sentence in prison.
Requirements to Be Followed When Granted Parole
Arizona's primary goal when granting inmates parole is to return the inmate to society so they can be effectively integrated.
As such, the requirements to be followed are focused on removing the bad habits or acts that caused the defendant to break the law.
As such, the requirements a defendant must follow will usually be tailored to the nature of the offense for which they were convicted.
Examples of conditions that a defendant may need to fulfill on parole include:
Paying restitution to victims
Attending court-ordered education classes or drug treatment programs
Avoiding contact with certain individuals who have a lawful restraining order
Avoiding contact with known criminals and past associates
Following all Arizona laws
If the terms of parole are violated, this may result in the defendant being sent back to prison to serve the remainder of their sentence.
An Arizona criminal defense lawyer helps defendants qualify for parole and stay in the law's good graces after being granted a newfound chance at freedom in the Arizona community.
Contact Tyler Allen Law Firm for a legal consultation to discuss how one of our criminal defense attorneys can help you work within the Arizona criminal defense system to obtain a chance at parole.