Depending on the circumstances, domestic violence can be a misdemeanor or felony offense in Texas. If you have been arrested and charged with domestic violence in Houston or Harris County while on parole, you could be facing very serious consequences. In addition to the jail time and fines for the domestic violence charges, your arrest will almost certainly be treated as a parole violation.
Protecting your rights after any arrest is essential, no matter what the charges. It’s especially important if you’re out of prison on parole. If convicted, you could find yourself being sent back to prison to not only serve time for domestic violence but also to serve out the remainder of your original sentence.
What Is Parole in Texas?
Parole is when the state releases an inmate from prison before their jail sentence is complete. Most inmates serving time for a criminal conviction in Texas become eligible for parole after they’ve served a certain portion of their sentence. Good behavior in prison and other mitigating factors can help an inmate become qualified for parole sooner.
Inmates generally become eligible for parole after they’ve served at least 25 percent of their jail sentence or 15 years. Inmates convicted of certain crimes may have to serve a higher percentage of their sentence before becoming eligible for parole. Only inmates who are serving a death sentence, life in prison without the possibility of parole, or have been convicted for the crime of commission of continuous sexual abuse of a minor are not eligible for parole.
In Texas, parole is granted or denied by the Board of Paroles and Pardons. Their decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. Some of the factors the parole board considers when making their decision include::
- The severity of the offense
- The inmate’s record
- The amount of jail time they’ve already served
- Any letters in support of parole
- The inmate’s behavior while in jail
There are several types of parole in Texas:
- Mandatory supervision
- Quarterly reporting
- Medically recommended or special needs
- Super-intensive supervision
The parole board sets the terms for an inmate’s parole. This can include participation in alcohol or drug treatment programs, mandatory drug testing, and electronic monitoring. If the terms of parole are violated, however, the parolee can be sent back to prison.
There are many ways an inmate can violate the terms of their parole. Being charged with domestic violence while on parole is one way to violate the terms.
What Is Domestic Violence/Family Violence in Texas?
Under Texas state law, assault is defined as intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing or threatening to cause bodily injury to another, including a person’s spouse. Domestic violence, also known as family violence is:
- A threat of physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household, or
- An act resulting in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household.
A threat of domestic or family violence is usually treated as a Class A misdemeanor. Depending on any aggravating circumstances, such as if the victim suffered serious bodily injury, or a weapon was used, the accused could be facing charges up to felony of the first degree.
Penalties for Being Charged With Domestic Violence While on Parole in Texas
There are many rules and stipulations an inmate must obey as a part of their parole. Parole can be revoked if any of the terms of the parole are not followed. Even a minor violation can result in parole revocation.
If a parolee is suspected of violating the terms of their parole release plan, a revocation hearing will be scheduled. In the revocation hearing, a prosecutor must show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the parolee has violated the terms of their parole. The parolee can challenge the prosecutor’s assertions and has a right to legal representation.
There can be several outcomes in a parole revocation hearing:
- The judge can decide the terms of probation were not violated and parole can continue.
- The judge can decide the violation wasn’t that serious and release the parolee with no changes.
- The judge can release the parolee but make changes to the terms of parole.
- The judge can order the parolee to a treatment or rehab center.
- The judge can revoke parole and order the parolee back to jail.
Speak to a Houston Domestic Violence Attorney
Lisa Shapiro Strauss is a former County DA turned Houston criminal defense attorney who is familiar with the state’s parole system and how it works. She understands the tactics the prosecution will use to get parole revoked, as well as the many legal strategies that can effectively defend her clients against the state’s charges. Her representation has saved many clients from their parole being revoked and extra years added to their sentence.