Parole hearings occur every time an incarcerated defendant becomes eligible for parole, mandatory supervision, or medically recommended intensive supervision.
After you plead guilty to a felony or receive a guilty verdict at trial, the court can order you to spend a certain amount of time in prison, but nothing, not even prison sentences, is set in stone. Defendants who receive prison sentences often get released into the community sooner than the date indicated in their original sentence. Only a minority of these instances involve cases where the defendant appeals his or her sentence, persuading the court that the original sentence was unfair. Except in the case of the most serious crimes, defendants who receive prison sentences will eventually become eligible for parole. According to Texas law, being released from prison on parole is a privilege, not a right; the parole board must decide, on a case-by-case basis, whether releasing you on parole is appropriate. The Austincriminal defense lawyers at Granger and Mueller can help increase your chances of the parole board approving your release.
Most of the time, defendants in criminal cases become eligible for parole after they have served 25% of the sentence handed down by the court. In other words, if the court sentenced you to 12 years in prison, your case becomes eligible for parole after three years. In some cases, it is possible to become eligible for parole even sooner than one-quarter of the way into your originally imposed sentence. Specifically, if you earn time off your sentence for good behavior, then you become eligible for parole once your good time plus your time actually served adds up to one-quarter of your original sentence. For example, if the defendant originally sentenced to 12 years earns three months off for good behavior, he will become eligible for parole after spending two years and nine months in prison. If your original prison sentence was more than 60 years, you become eligible for parole after 15 years.
This combination of time served plus good time is sometimes called mandatory supervision because, until 1996, defendants who reached this milestone would automatically be released into the community (in other words, released to “community supervision” instead of incarceration). Under the current law, the process is no longer automatic; instead of being automatically released, your case becomes eligible for review by the parole board.
Another reason that parole boards meet is to decide about medically recommended intensive supervision, also known as compassionate release. This is when the state paroles a convicted defendant because the defendant is in such poor health that he or she is no longer at risk of committing crimes.
A criminal defense lawyer can help you maximize your chances that the parole board will approve your request to be released to community supervision. Contact Granger and Mueller in Austin, Texas, or call (512)474-9999.