Probation Violation Lawyer
Pennsylvania courts use probation as a means of minimizing the number of nonviolent offenders in jails and prisons, and providing rehabilitation opportunities for first-time offenders. If you have been placed under probation in Philadelphia or in a surrounding county, like Delaware, Montgomery, Chester, or Bucks, it is vital that you learn and understand the terms of your specific probation sentence and take special care not to violate those terms. Also, maintaining a clear line of communication between you and your probation officer is important to help ensure you receive the help and cooperation you need during the term of your probation.
In addition to the city of Philadelphia, the counties of Delaware, Montgomery, Chester, and Bucks all handle probation violations differently. This makes it extremely important to have an experienced probation violation lawyer, who can help you understand how to handle yourself during your probationary period, regardless of the county, as well as defend you if you are accused with violating your probation terms.
If you do make a mistake during your probation, it is usually the responsibility of your probation officer to report the incident. If you suspect or have knowledge that your probation officer has submitted, or will soon inform the court about an alleged violation, you must move forward quickly to obtain the legal representation you need at this crucial time.
With extensive experience in the Philadelphia, Delaware, Montgomery, Chester, and Bucks County court systems, probation violation attorney Michael Fienman is prepared to vigorously act as your advocate to defend your freedom. If you are in trouble regarding your probation in any Pennsylvania county, you’ll need legal counsel with first-hand knowledge of how these various probation systems operate and how to best deal with potential infractions. Don’t wait to get the legal support you need.
Call Fienman Defense today at (215) 839-9529, or reach us through our contact form.
Probation Violations – Technical and Substantive
Under Pennsylvania law, technical violations of probation constitute any failure of the individual on probation to meet any number of special requirements ordered by the court as a qualification for compliance.
A substantive violation of probation involves a new violation of any county or state law, federal law, municipal ordinance, or court order while on probation. If you are questioned by the police or commit any violation of your probation terms, you are required to notify your probation officer within 72 hours.
If you’ve been placed on probation, you’re required to fulfill certain obligations and duties as part of your sentence. These obligations can vary depending on the judge’s decision in your case. Your judge may require one or more of the following conditions: payment of fines or costs, a requirement to report on a periodic basis, and requirement to remain confined to a certain geographic area.
Violations of these terms can result in severe consequences such as extended probation, payment of heavy fines, and serving jail time, just to name a few. The consequences you face may depend on various factors including the seriousness of your violation, any circumstances that may worsen or lessen the gravity of the situation, and any prior violations you may have on your record.
How You Can Violate Probation
There are a number of ways in which you can potentially violate your probation terms in the greater Philadelphia area, including Delaware, Montgomery, Chester, and Bucks counties. These may include:
- Failing to pass a drug test, or using, possessing, or selling illegal drugs
- Failing to pay any required restitution to victims or other fines ordered by the court
- Failing to appear for a scheduled court date and at the set time
- Committing another offense or crime
- Visiting places or people from which you are restricted, or traveling out-of-state without permission from your probation officer
- Getting arrested
- Failing to report to your probation officer at the scheduled place and time
Possible Consequences of a Probation Violation
If the court finds you guilty of violating your probation terms, you may suffer the loss of all your privileges and rights associated with probation. Your probation could be withdrawn entirely and replaced with a re-sentence of jail or prison time. Or, the court may decide to impose upon you a longer probationary sentence. If you’re facing these consequences, it’s important to act quickly and obtain legal support from an experienced probation violation lawyer who will work hard to protect your rights.
What Happens After a Probation Violation is Reported
Each case is different because probation officers in the state of Pennsylvania have wide discretion on how to handle probation violations. You may receive as little as a warning, or you may be required to make an appearance in court for a violation hearing. It is also possible for your supervising judge to issue a detainer which will cause you to be incarcerated pending a violation hearing. In deciding about violations, your probation officer may consider any of your past warnings or probation violations, the severity and circumstances surrounding your violation, as well as other possible considerations.
If you’re required to attend a probation violation hearing, the judge will evaluate your case in order to determine if you, in fact, violated the conditions or terms of your probation. At your hearing, the attorney for the prosecution will be required to prove your violation by a legal standard referred to as a “preponderance of the evidence”. When making a judgment, the judge may consider a range of factors about your case, including any mitigating aggravating circumstances.
Sentencing if Found Guilty
If the court finds you guilty of violating probation, you will be resentenced. The new sentence may be determined based on the various factors the judge considers including the nature of your offense, whether you are a repeat offender, and more. You could face a lengthening of your existing probation period, additional probation requirements, jail time added to your probation, or a canceling of your probation with the requirement to serve the remaining time in prison.
If you’re concerned that you have violated your probation terms and may soon be reported by your probation officer, or if this has already taken place, there is help available. At Fienman Defense, led by experienced probation violation lawyer Michael Fienman, we know how to deal with alleged probation violations in the Philadelphia, Montgomery, Delaware, Chester, and Bucks County courts in an intelligent and aggressive fashion to fight for your rights and freedom. Let us help you through this difficult legal circumstance.
Call us today at (215) 839-9529 for a free case evaluation to discuss your situation.