Blue Warrant

A blue warrant is an order for apprehension of a parolee on suspicion of violation of a term or terms of his parole release. A blue warrant is typically issued without the knowledge of the parolee and his parole officer is not obligated to inform him of the issuance of a blue warrant.

The supervising parole officer submits a report of violation when an offender on parole or mandatory release status is believed to have violated terms or conditions of his supervised release. Violations can range from missing required meetings with the parole office to the suspicion that the offender may commit a crime or has has committed an offense. The report of a violation is the first step in the blue warrant process. Its content determines whether or not a warrant will be issued. Members of the Parole Division will review the report decide if probable cause to believe a violation of parole conditions has occurred. If, in their estimation, the answer is yes, and no other suitable sanctions are deemed appropriate, a warrant is issued to detain the parolee pending an administrative hearing. The warrant is typically published in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and/or the Texas Crime Information Center (TCIC) fugitives warrant database.

Once a parolee is detained on a blue warrant and the sheriff with custody of the parolee has notified the Parole Division of arrest, the Parole Division determines whether to place the case into the hearing process. If the violations are administrative only (no criminal law violations pending disposition in a court of law), or include adjudicated charges (a conviction) and the offender has discharged any imposed sentence, a request is made for a hearing to be scheduled. The sheriff having custody is also required to notify the Parole Division when criminal charges have been dismissed and when any imposed sentence resulting from a conviction has been discharged. In instances where there are criminal charges pending adjudication, the Parole Division will normally defer the revocation process pending final disposition of the criminal charges.

Not all violations result in revocation hearings. Administrative violations may be handled by the hearing officer. This individual has the authority to impose additional sanctions on the paroled offender as a condition of continued freedom on parole.

Offenders arrested on “blue warrants” may be held in a county jail awaiting disposition of the pending criminal charges until the process is completed. Fortunately, the process now must be adjudicated with reasonable speed; offenders cannot be held indefinitely.