Often, individuals violate the terms of their probation or parole without realizing it. You may fail to appear in court at a scheduled time, inadvertently miss a scheduled meeting with your probation officer or fail to notify the court of an address change. Regardless of the circumstances, violating your probation or parole is a very serious offense that can often lead to jail time and other serious consequences. I will defend your rights and your freedom if you find yourself facing a probation or parole violation hearing.
I have over a decade of experience providing skilled and aggressive representation to individuals facing probation and parole violation hearings in Bucks County, Montgomery County and the surrounding counties. Contact me at (215) 752-5282 for a free initial consultation or fill out the confidential contact form for an immediate response. Appointments are available after business hours and on weekends.
Types of Probation and Parole Violations
Generally, probation and parole violations are classified as either technical violations or substantive violations. A technical violation involves a failure by the person on probation or parole to comply with one or more of the special conditions required by the court as part of his or her supervision. A substantive violation occurs when an individual under supervision on probation or parole violates a municipal ordinance, court order, state law, county law or federal law. A substantive violation commonly occurs when an individual under supervision is arrested on new criminal charges.
Consequences of a Probation or Parole Violation
Substantive violations are often referred to as “direct violations.” Both technical violations and sustentative violations can result in your probation or parole being revoked by the court. Individuals subject to parole revocation may be required to serve the balance of their sentence in prison. Individuals subject to revocation of their probation can be re-sentenced to jail, extended probation, or both. Generally, a person on probation or parole who commits a technical or substantive violation must notify his or her probation officer within 72 hours. I can provide you with legal guidance if you have been notified to turn yourself in on a probation or parole violation.
Examples of Probation and Parole Violations
There are many ways in which an individual can violate the terms of his or her probation or parole, even without intending to do so. The following are some of the most common ways probation and parole violations may occur:
- Failing to appear in court at a scheduled date and time
- Failing to complete court-ordered treatment programs
- Failing a drug test
- Failing to report to your probation officer
- Failing to pay court costs, fines and restitution
- Changing your address without approval from the probation department
- Possessing firearms, ammunition or other weapons
- Failing to complete court-ordered community service
- Leaving Pennsylvania without permission from your probation officer
- Failing to maintain employment
- Consuming, possessing or selling a controlled substance
- Consuming alcoholic beverages
- Receiving new criminal charges
Penalties for Violating Probation or Parole
A judge may impose any number of penalties on individuals found guilty of violating their probation or parole. The severity of the penalty is primarily based on the seriousness of the alleged violation and the supervision history of the offender. Some of the penalties a judge could impose include the following:
- Jail time
- Community service
- Court-ordered drug and alcohol treatment
- Court-ordered mental health treatment
- Extended probation
- Revocation of probation
- Revocation of parole
- Additional conditions to your probation or parole
I can determine what penalties you may face if you are scheduled for a probation or parole violation.
The probation and parole department will often request that you be held in custody if it determines that probable cause exists to believe that you have violated the conditions of your probation or parole. This determination is often made at an initial proceeding known as a preliminary hearing or more formally referred to as a Gagnon I hearing. If probable cause is established by the probation and parole department at the hearing, the presiding judge will often order that the offender be held in custody until the probation or parole violation hearing is held.
Lifting a Probation or Parole Detainer
I can conduct a thorough investigation of the facts and circumstances surrounding the alleged violation if you are held in custody after a Gagnon I hearing. In certain cases, I will file a petition with the court requesting that the probation or parole detainer be lifted. In most counties, the court will schedule a hearing to determine whether the probation or parole detainer should be lifted. At the time of the hearing, I can present mitigating evidence and legal argument in favor of your release on bail pending the resolution of the probation or parole violation hearing.
Probation and Parole Violation Defense
During the violation hearing, often referred to as a Gagnon II hearing, the Commonwealth is required to prove by a preponderance of evidence that you violated your probation or parole. In some cases, I will challenge the evidence presented by the probation or parole officer through the aggressive cross-examination of Commonwealth witnesses and through the introduction of exculpatory and mitigating evidence on behalf of the alleged offender. In other cases, I have been able to establish to the court that the alleged violations are minor and do not warrant revocation of probation or parole or any further penalties.
Trusted and Experienced Representation
I have spent over a decade working with county and state probation and parole departments, county prosecutors and the courts. I have extensive experience in successfully resolving probation or parole violation matters through direct negotiations with local probation department officers and county prosecutors. I can review the facts of your case to determine the most effective legal strategy to use to resolve your probation or parole violation charge.
Start with a Strong Defense
If you have been charged with a probation or parole violation in Bucks County, Montgomery County or the surrounding counties, it is critical that you act quickly to protect your rights and build the strongest possible defense against the charges. Phone lines are open 24 hours a day at (215) 752-5282. Call today for a free initial consultation or fill out the confidential contact form for an immediate response.