How Long Can They Hold You in Jail for a Parole Violation?

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Living on parole is like walking on thin ice. You must do everything the court requires, or else you’ll get a parole violation charge. 

In 2021 alone, more than 3.7 million people have been placed under this community supervision program. Yet, over 280,000 are jailed for parole violations on any given day. 

Parole violators make up almost 25% of the incarcerated population in the country. It’s a significant number, which can cause concern for parolees wondering if they can be the next who’s returning to jail. 

How long is jail time for violating probation or parole, which are privileges the state gives? Do you go to jail automatically after breaking any parole condition or requirement? 

This article discusses the jail time associated with parole violations and how these breaches of parole conditions are resolved. 

It’s essential to have insight into the parole or probation program to avoid making violations that can jeopardize your privilege. 

You’ll have a scheduled hearing before a judge or hearing officer when brought to jail for parole violations. You can have the services of a criminal defense lawyer to represent you. 

It would be easier if you could retrieve all of your arrest and criminal records, which you might need during the hearings

Visit and have access to an extensive database of more than 7,000 correction facilities in the United States. You’ll also get links to their websites where you can contact them to get the documents you need. 

How Long Can You Go to Jail for Violating Probation or Parole?

Jail time for violating probation depends on the judge’s decision after a parolee violator is tried in court. For instance, if you’ve been accused of a violation, the probation officer can detain you in jail to await a hearing schedule. 

Typically, a person can be detained in jail from 14 days to up to 120 days before a hearing, depending on the state law.

How Is Parole Violated?

You are charged with parole violation when you didn’t follow the terms and conditions set by the parole board for an early release. 

There are two types of violations when probation and parole are concerned. These two are gross and technical violations, each with policies regarding violation penalties. 

  • A gross violation is when a parolee commits a crime. Also, repeat offenders tend to get charged with this kind of violation.
  • A technical violation is a violation limited to parole or probation conditions, like having a job, reporting to a parole officer, getting involved in community services, and attending rehabilitation programs. 

Typically, you don’t go to county jail after violating probation or parole automatically if the violation isn’t severe. 

Sometimes, the parole violator may be given a second chance before punishment is served. However, deliberately committing a crime like misdemeanors or felonies will most likely get you behind bars. 

What Happens if You Violate Probation or Parole?

Once you commit a violation, the probation officer, upon knowledge of the incident, will file a report and can do the following:

  1. Request a warrant for your arrest. 
  2. Require the parolee or probationer to attend court.
  3. Move to revoke your parole or probation. 

In the end, the one who determines whether you go to jail is the judge. For instance, you don’t get charged with a violation. In that case, you may get additional conditions to fulfill as part of your parole or probation term. 

What Is a Parole Hold?

In certain situations, a parole violator can be arrested and detained in jail before a trial. This type of detainment is called a parole hold. 

Law enforcement uses this type of detainment if they reasonably believe you’ve violated one or more conditions of your parole term. 

Note that the basis of a parole hold is “reasonable belief,” which is suspicion based on reasonable grounds, whether or not that basis would turn out correct.

How Long Can You Be Held on a Parole Hold?

The length of time of a parole hold depends on the violation you’ve committed and the laws in your state. Different states have varying parole hold lengths to detain parole violators before a hearing.


After an arrest due to suspicion of a violation of parole, a preliminary hearing will be scheduled within seven days and conducted within 14 days after an arrest. 

You can be placed on a parole hold for 14 days before you get a court date to resolve your alleged violation in Arkansas


If you’re in California, a parole violation may detain you for up to 180 days in jail. This parole hold length is one of the longest detention policies for parole violation. If the probation officer believes you’re a threat to public safety, they can request to extend your detention. 

New York

In New York, suspected parole violators can be detained in jail for up to 15 days while waiting for a preliminary hearing. The parole offender gets notified in writing of the purpose of the hearing, the time, and the date. 


In Texas, a parole violation can get you jail detention of up to 120 days. Let’s say the parole board couldn’t hold a hearing after 120 days. In that case, they should withdraw the warrant unless a continuance of 60 days is requested. 

Moreover, after the hearing, the board can request another 30 days of detention to wait for the disposition. A parole hold in Texas can last up to 210 days of jail time.

How Do You Get a Parole Hold Lifted?

If the probation officer believes that a parolee violator is a danger to the public, release through bail can be denied. The following are situations where a parole hold can get lifted. 

1. The Parole Hold Expires

States with a set amount of time for parole hold have a provision that the parolee must be released if a hearing is not scheduled after the detention expires. However, the probation officer may request an extension if needed. 

2. The Parolee Waives the Right to a Hearing

When a person is on a parole hold, they’re being detained to ensure they’re tried in court. However, a parolee violator can waive the right to a hearing. This waiver ends the parole hold, and the parolee receives a decision from a judge without trial. 

Waiving the right to a hearing may not be in the best interest of detained parolees. 

Before you contemplate waiving your right to a hearing, it would help if you first consult a criminal defense lawyer. 

3. The Parolee Has Their Hearing

Once a hearing date is set, the parole violator gets their day in court. Once the judge determines the innocence or guilt of the defendant, the parole hold ends. However, if the judge deems that the crime is severe enough, the parole term could get revoked. 

Can You Violate Probation or Parole and Not Go to Jail?

Not all parole violation results in jail time. Some minor offenses fall under technical violations, which you can discuss with your parole officer. 

Judges won’t usually revoke your parole or probation terms for minor cases. Instead, the court will issue a warning, reprimand, or reinstate the original terms with additional conditions as the penalty for the violation. 

When Is Parole Granted?

The parole board grants parole to prisoners who are deemed eligible. In most cases, prisoners given this privilege have reached a point in their prison sentence called “parole eligibility.” 

A prisoner becomes eligible for parole after serving a portion of their sentence. This portion typically means a third or half of the total prison term. 

The parole board also considers prisoners’ behavior while in prison, their continued observance of prison rules, and the seriousness of their crimes. 

Conditions of Parole

Paroles are early release privileges for eligible prisoners with terms and conditions. Instead of spending prison time, a person eligible for parole can get released to community supervision. 

For parolees to benefit from this semi-prison release, they should adhere to all parole conditions. Here are examples of typical conditions given to parolees. 

  • Report to a probation officer regularly.
  • Reside exclusively in a preselected area, not leaving it without permission
  • Submit to the loss of gun ownership rights.
  • Agree to regular searches.
  • Promise not to violate any law.

Note that conditions may differ according to the state you’re in and the severity of the crime committed. 

Aside from the typical parole conditions, stipulations are added to parole terms like attending drug and alcohol treatment programs, avoiding contacting victims and specified individuals like women or children, and submitting to random alcohol and drug tests.

Parole Violation

It’s a violation when one doesn’t comply with any or all of the conditions stated in a parole term. 

Once the parole officer becomes aware of the violation, the officer will determine if the offense is gross or technical. The judge or parole board will consider violations and decide the appropriate penalty. 

Penalties for a Parole Violation

The judge or parole board examines the violation report and determines the appropriate penalty for each parole condition violation. 

Here are some of the penalties given to parole offenders. 

  • Full revocation
  • Partial revocation
  • Increased supervision terms
  • Fines
  • Tolling
  • Change in condition
  • Criminal charges

The Parole Violation Process

The parole violation process hinges on the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. This amendment, also called the “due process clause,” ensures every citizen’s right when deprived of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness without due process. 

The actual process of handling parole violations may vary in different states. However, parole officers are responsible for their assigned parolees. 

Let’s say a parolee committed a parole violation. The officer can request that the court release a summon or notice of hearing for minor violations or an arrest warrant if the case is a serious violation.  

After detaining the violator, the next phase of the due process is to schedule a parole hearing. 

Due Process Requirements for Revocation Hearings

Requirements for legal proceedings must be met for the process to be considered constitutional. 

In cases of parole or probation revocation hearings, the court has already sentenced a parolee or probationer. 

Convicted individuals are on parole or probation because of rehabilitation purposes. So, the court states that bringing them back to prison because of violations should not require another criminal trial. 

However, it doesn’t mean there won’t be formal proceedings to resolve such issues. Because of this, the due process requirement for revocation hearings is different from a regular criminal trial. 

The U.S. Supreme Court recognizes the following due process requirements for a parole revocation hearing.

  1. The parolee must receive a written notice of the alleged violation.
  2. The parole board must disclose the evidence used against the parolee.
  3. The parolee must have a chance to be heard and the opportunity to present documentary evidence and witnesses.
  4. The parolee must be able to confront or cross-examine the witness unless the hearing officer or court has good cause for not allowing any confrontation.
  5. The parole board must provide a written statement for their reasons for revocation and the shreds of evidence they’ve considered to make the decision. 

Parole Violation Hearings

Parole violations are determined through a hearing officiated by a parole board. The hearing process is not similar to a regular criminal trial but focuses on resolving issues about parole concerns. 

What Can Bring About Parole Violations Under U.S. Law?

The main trigger for a parole hearing is when the parole officer reports an alleged parole violation. As mentioned above, a parole violation happens when one or more of the terms and conditions of parole are not followed. 

The court will issue a hearing notice or an arrest warrant. The initial part of the parole violation hearing process ensures that the alleged parole offender appears in front of a hearing officer to face the charges. 

What Happens at a Parole Revocation Hearing?

The exact hearing procedures for parole violations may differ in other states. Still, they all have the due process requirements for it to be legal. 

Below is an example of a parole violation hearing procedure in Georgia

  1. A parole hearing is scheduled with the parole board hearing officer not directly involved in the defendant’s case.
  2. The parolee is given a preliminary hearing notice and a reasonable time to prepare for a defense.
  3. The hearing will accept evidence and witnesses and allows the parolee to make a statement though not required. 
  4. The hearing officer then submits the findings to the parole board, which decides whether to accept or overrule the findings.
  5. The board decides the defendant’s fate on a vote. Afterward, the board informs the parole of the decision whether or not the parolee revoked their parole.

Violation of a Parole Term or Condition

When a parolee is accused of a violation, the parole officer reports the offense, and the violator faces the parole board. 

The hearing officer or deputy commissioner of the parole board will determine whether there’s probable cause for revocation. 

To achieve probable cause, the parole board will need the statements of the probation officer, law enforcement that made the arrest, and witnesses crucial for the offender’s case.  

Probable cause is a requirement stated in the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that should be met before making an arrest, conducting a search, or issuing a warrant. Probable cause is the same proof needed during a parole hearing. 

In regular criminal trials, the evidence should be beyond a reasonable doubt for it to be considered by the court. However, a parole hearing doesn’t need a high standard of proof. 

Violation of a New Law

If a parolee violates a new law, the same due process is required, as stated in the last topic above. However, an additional burden of proof is needed to prove if a violation occurred. The burden of proof is through the preponderance of the evidence. 

For a successful revocation, the parole board only needs to have sufficient evidence to establish that the defendant is more than likely to have committed the violation.

The preponderance of the evidence is met when the evidence shows that the likelihood of the accusation being true is more than 50%. 

What Happens if Parolees Win at the Hearing?

Once the parolee wins a case, the defendant remains on parole, and the original conditions and terms continue. The parole term length depends on the requirements set by the judge. 

Some parole terms last up to three years, while others even more. To avoid the risk of violation, the parolee must always report to their parole officer and religiously abide by the parole terms and conditions. 

What Happens if You Violate Probation or Parole More Than Once?

In many cases, a parolee that commits parole violations more than once can go back to jail. Remember that parole is an act of grace, not an individual’s right. 

People on parole are not free from the penalties for their crimes. This privilege is part of the rehabilitation process aiming to make reentry into society easier. 

Any breach of this privilege is being ungrateful of the state’s “act of grace.”

Can a Probation or Parole Violation Be Dismissed?

The violation charge is dismissed once all evidence has been brought to light and shows the parolee innocent of an alleged new crime.

Once the parolee meets all parole conditions, like paying off-court fees and completing rehabilitation programs for special cases like substance abuse, the parole is completed.

Do You Automatically Go to Jail for Violating Probation?

Every citizen, even prisoners and those on parole or probation, has the right to due process whenever the state moves to deprive one’s life, liberty, and property. So, you don’t automatically go to jail for a parole or probation violation. 

However, you may get detained or put into a parole hold before a hearing if there’s an immediate need to do so, especially if the parolee has become a threat to public safety.

How Does a Person Get Released Early From U.S. Parole?

The early release from parole depends on the parolee and how they cope with reintegration into society. The parole officer submits an annual report of a parolee with recommendations. 

The parole board then considers these reports and decides whether an early release from parole is appropriate. Sometimes, a parole term can end after five years unless compelling reasons exist to extend the parole. 

“What Happens if I’m Arrested for an Alleged Parole Violation?”

Once a violation has been reported, the parole officer can put the parolee on a parole hold. Depending on your state, you can get detained for up to 14 days until a hearing is scheduled. In some states, the detention time may reach up to 120 days. 

A parolee has limited rights during parole because they’re still not actually free. They still need to face the consequences of their crimes and complete the sentence the judge gave. 

How Do I Get a Hold of Someone’s Parole Officer?

Your parole officer’s name is public information you can get from an internet search or your parole office. You need to know the details of your parole officer so you can report your situation regularly. 

Right to Counsel?

The U.S. Supreme Court hasn’t ruled that parolees in a violation hearing must have representation. However, some states have allowed and, in some cases, required parolees to have legal representation during parole hearings. 

Getting Legal Help With Parole Revocations

When facing a parole revocation hearing, you can have legal representation in some states. If this is the case, you’ll need the expertise of a criminal defense attorney to guide you through the legal process. Through the help of an attorney, you’ll know when to accept a plea bargain or pursue a not-guilty stance. 

Criminal defense law firms help people build a defense that can defend them or mitigate the situation for a much lenient sentence. Some of these firms provide free consultation services that you can use. 

It’s best to have a lawyer on your side because they can handle all the requirements and documentation needed to build a case. 

You can have an attorney collect your records, or you can visit inmate locators like and get hold of your arrest and court records. 

In these sensitive situations, it’s best to cooperate with your legal counsel to help you build a defense that will hopefully get you off your parole violation predicament. 


1. Probation and Parole in the United States, 2021
2. Legislative Primer Series on Community Supervision: Limiting Incarceration in Response to Technical Violations
3. Arkansas Code Title 16. Practice, Procedure, and Courts § 16-93-705. Revocation–Procedures and hearings generally
4. Cal. Pen. Code § 3000.08
5. Find out what happens if you violate your probation
6. Division of Parole Rules and Regulations On the Web
8. Eligibility for Parole
9. Conditions of Parole
10. What Is Parole? How Does Parole Work?
11. Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection and Other Rights
12. Probable cause
13. Preponderance of the evidence

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