Supervised Release Violations in Federal Court
A period of supervised release is something that every federal defendant should expect after they are convicted of a federal crime and sentenced to prison time. Federal criminal charges can have very serious consequences, including prison time. This seems to be common knowledge. What the general public is not aware of however, is that there is also usually a period of post release supervision after the prison sentence is completed if you’ve been convicted of a federal crime.
In this blog we will explore this topic and provide some very basic information on supervised release.
Sentencing for a federal crime
When someone is convicted of a federal crime, they are punished according to the Federal sentencing guidelines. The time that they serve is the combination of active prison time and a period of post-release supervision.
What is supervised release for a federal crime?
Supervised release occurs after a person convicted of a federal crime serves an active prison sentence. It requires that a convicted person spend some period of time adhering to very strict conduct guidelines. The amount of time depends on the crime that they were convicted of and how they were sentenced. The supervised release is supervised by a federal probation officer, to ensure compliance.
These requirements include but are not limited to: taking and passing drug tests; refraining from committing any other federal, state, or local crimes; remaining employed; not associating with known criminals; submitting to searches; and reporting regularly to a probation officer.
What happens when a violation occurs?
If the defendant fails to adhere to any of the terms of release, a law enforcement officer may bring this to the attention of the federal court, and the federal government can institute an action against the defendant.
Court appearances for supervised release violations
Court appearances with regard to the supervised release violations are governed by Federal rules of criminal procedure, rule 32.1. Under this rule the following court proceedings are outlined:
- Initial appearance – The person accused of the violation must be taken before a federal magistrate court judge without unnecessary delay. That judge must inform the person of the alleged violation, and inform them if their right to retain counsel, request appointed counsel or represent themselves.
- Preliminary hearing – A preliminary hearing, can be waived (meaning the defendant has the right to skip that step) or it can occur. In a preliminary hearing, the court determines whether or not there was sufficient probable cause to arrest the defendant for a supervised release violation.
- Detention hearing – A detention hearing in federal court is similar to a bond hearing in state court. The judge hears arguments and evidence and determines whether the defendant should be detained (in jail) until his case is resolved, or whether he should be released until his case is resolved.
- Disposition hearing – The disposition hearing is the final hearing. At this hearing, a federal judge will determine whether the defendant is guilty. If the federal judge determines that the defendant is guilty, the judge will then determine what the federal defendant’s punishment will be.
Regarding criminal law, federal charges can be complicated and difficult to navigate. At Gilles Law, we handle a wide variety of criminal charges. If you have been charged with a federal crime in North Carolina or charged with a federal crime in South Carolina, contact us to speak with a federal criminal defense attorney.