A revocation hearing can refer to one of two things: a probation revocation hearing or a parole revocation hearing. A revocation hearing is a court hearing before a judge in which the judge decides whether to revoke your probation or your parole. If you are revoked, you face serious jail time.

What Is a Probation Violation?

When you are convicted of a crime, the judge may decide to sentence you to a term of probation. Probation can be any length of time – from days to years. Probation can also be supervised or unsupervised. If you are sentenced to unsupervised probation, your only condition is to not commit any crimes. However, if you are sentenced to supervised probation, you will likely be saddled with a whole host of conditions, such as randomized drug testing, anger management classes, in-person meetings with your probation officer, and home visits.

When you have violated probation, your probation officer will notify the judge. Probation violations can run the gamut from testing positive during a drug screening to getting arrested for a new crime. When the judge is notified of your violation, he or she will decide whether to hold a hearing. The hearing is called a probation revocation hearing.

What Is a Probation Revocation Hearing?

At the probation revocation hearing, you will be ordered to explain how and why you violated probation. Your probation officer, as well as the prosecutor, will be present at the hearing. In addition, you may plead with the judge, offer evidence that you have been improving while on probation or present testimony or letters from loved ones, supervisors or community members.

The judge may decide to keep you on probation, change your conditions of probation, end your probation or revoke your probation. If your probation is revoked, you will receive a term of incarceration.

Often, when you are first sentenced, the judge will sentence you to a set amount of time, then suspend the execution of that sentence. The judge will place you on probation, and if you do well, you will never have to serve a day. However, if you do poorly and your probation is revoked, you will be forced to serve that sentence.

What Is a Parole Revocation Hearing?

Parole or supervised release occurs after you have served jail time. In exchange for good behavior or in an act of leniency, the judge may order that you serve some of your sentence on parole instead of in the jail. Parole is almost identical to probation. You will be supervised by a parole officer and will likely have many of the same conditions that you would have under probation.

Do I Need an Attorney for a Revocation Hearing?

Your freedom is in jeopardy at a revocation hearing. You will need a competent criminal defense attorney who will aggressively and zealously advocate for your best interests.