"Blue warrants," or pre-revocation warrants, are warrants of arrest issued in Texas for parolees who allegedly violate terms of their parole or commit new crimes. The term "blue warrant" designates the color of paper the warrant is printed on. Offenders who have blue warrants are taken into custody and held until an administrative hearing can determine whether the violation occurred.
Reporting a Violation
Before a blue warrant is issued, the parole officer must file a report of the alleged violations of the conditions of parole. The violation report is reviewed by the Parole Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), and a blue warrant is issued if there is probable cause to believe a violation occurred.
A request for a blue warrant can be issued for any violation of parole according to the parole officer's judgment. This can include administrative violations such as failure to appear at scheduled appointments or office visits, and late payments of required fees.
The TDCJ issues a blue arrest warrant to detain the alleged offender until a hearing can determine whether he violated parole or committed a new crime. Records of these warrants are published in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and the Texas Crime Information Center (TCIC).
The Parole Division takes the case under review to determine and schedule any necessary hearings. The hearing could result in a criminal conviction.
If the violations are administrative and not criminal, the warrant and any criminal charges may be dropped by the sheriff who has custody. The sheriff must notify the Parole Division.
A 1997 law eliminated the preliminary hearing for detainees held under a blue warrant. The law reduced the maximum time an offender could be held in county jails to 90 days, to reduce the financial burden on the state.