State Parole Violations & Revocations

Under AB 109, California’s “Realignment” law, there were major changes to the procedures required for California state parole revocations. These changes took effect on July 1, 2013.[648] The new rules for revocation hearings laws are explained in this section.

How did Realignment Change the way parole revocation hearings work (as of July 1, 2013)?

    CHANGE TO WHO HEARS THE CASE

The biggest change is that local county superior courts will now hear most parole revocation cases.[649] Before July 1, 2013, the Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) was responsible for hearing all parole revocation cases, and now that responsibility has mostly shifted to the courts.[650] Superior court judges will hear these cases in state court.[651] One idea behind this change was to create more transparency and fairness by having independent, unbiased judges hear the cases and weigh the evidence.

However, the BPH will continue to hear certain cases — specifically:

    Parole consideration for lifers (also called “parole suitability hearings”);
    Medical parole hearings;
    Cases regarding mentally disordered offenders (MDOs); and
    Cases regarding “sexually violent predators.”
    CHANGE TO WHERE YOU SERVE A SENTENCE FOR A PAROLE VIOLATION
    If your parole is revoked for a violation that occurred on or after July 1, 2013, you will be sentenced to COUNTY JAIL, not state prison.
    If your parole is revoked for a violation that occurred before July 1, 2013, you would have been sent back to STATE PRISON. so this is a big change in the law.
    EXCEPTION: This change does not apply to a parolee who is classified as a “serious offender” — meaning a parolee who was a life-term prisoner under California Penal Code § 3000.1, or one who was convicted of certain sex offenses under California Penal Code § 3000(a)(4)). If you fall under this classification, you will still be sent back to state prison to serve time for a parole revocation. The BPH retains control of your case, and will later decide whether to release you back onto parole.[652]
    CHANGE TO THE AMOUNT OF TIME YOU SERVE

If you serve your parole violation (revocation) term in county jail, you will serve a maximum of 180 days.[653] Most people serve their parole revocation terms in county jails.

But if you are a former lifer, you may serve a maximum of 12 months in prison for a parole violation.[654] If your maximum parole period is life-long (this may be true if your commitment offense was murder or a sex offense), you may be sentenced to up to a year in prison for a revocation — and, at some point during that year, the BPH may determine that you should be incarcerated longer.[655]

  1. 648

    See Cal. Dep’t of Corr. & Reh., Fact Sheet: 2011 Public Safety Realignment, http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/realignment/docs/realignment-fact-sheet.pdf.

  2. 649

    Cal. Penal Code § 3000.08(a).

  3. 650

    Cal. Penal Code § 3000.08(j).

  4. 651

    Cal. Penal Code §§ 1203.2(b)(1) and (f).

  5. 652

    Cal. Penal Code § 3000.08(f)(1).

  6. 653

    Cal. Penal Code § 3000.08. Cal. Penal Code § 3056(a).

  7. 654

    Cal. Penal Code § 3057(e).

  8. 655

    Cal. Penal Code § 3000.1(d).

  1. If I am suspected of a parole violation, who has authority to arrest me? Do they need a warrant?

  2. What happens if I am arrested for an alleged parole violation?

  3. Where can I find the legal rules that apply to parole revocation hearings?

  4. Who represents the CDCR’s parole department in the hearing?

  5. Who represents me if I cannot afford an attorney?

  6. What is the legal standard for finding me guilty of a parole violation?

  7. If I go to jail on a parole violation, am I entitled to bail?

  8. What rights do I have during a parole revocation hearing?

  9. When can witnesses be excused from appearing at my parole revocation hearing?

  10. What happens if an important state witness doesn’t show up to my parole revocation hearing?

  11. At my parole revocation hearing, Can the district attorney bring evidence that was found in an unlawful search or seizure?

  12. If the judge revokes my parole and orders me back into custody, where will I serve and for how long?

  13. What rights do I have if I am a person with a disability going through parole revocation proceedings?

  14. How do I challenge (appeal) a parole revocation decision or action made by the county superior court?

  15. What types of issues could I bring up in a challenge to parole revocation proceedings, decisions, or actions?

  16. What is the process for appealing a decison made by CDCR?