Delaware County Violation Probation Laws
Violating your probation agreement in Delaware County, Pennsylvania could lead to more legal trouble than you realize. Rather than fulfilling the terms of your probation and leaving your criminal past behind you, a violation could force you to fulfill the terms of your original sentence, including jail time, plus additional penalties. Understanding Pennsylvania’s violation probation laws could help you know what to do if you cross the line.
What Does the Law Say?
The Pennsylvania Code Rule 708 explains the punishments and hearing process when someone violates probation in the state. The rule says that when a judge has sentenced a defendant to probation or another form of intermediate punishment for a crime, the judge has the right to revoke the probation if the defendant breaks his or her part of the deal. Probation violations can take many forms in Delaware County.
- Ignoring a mandatory court date
- Missing a meeting with a parole officer
- Skipping mandatory rehabilitation meetings
- Failing to complete community service hours
- Failing to pay the required restitution to victims
- Traveling out of state without permission
- Breaching a restraining order
- Failing a drug test
- Getting arrested for another offense
Many other actions or omissions could also constitute violations of probation depending on the terms of the agreement. If a judge orders you to stay in school or attend alcohol counseling, for example, failing to do either of these will qualify as a violation of probation. To avoid violating your probation, know its exact terms and obey them completely. When in doubt, consult with your probation officer or defense attorney about your rights.
What To Expect During a Violation Probation Hearing
Rule 708 outlines what will happen if a judge finds you guilty of a probation violation. First, the prosecution will file a request for probation revocation with the clerk of courts. The courts will hold a hearing you must attend. If the courts find you did violate a condition of your probation agreement, you will have the opportunity to also plead guilty to other crimes you committed. Then, the courts will impose a sentence for all your crimes together.
You or your DELCO criminal defense lawyer will be able to make a statement during your violation probation hearing in Delaware County that may persuade the judge to impose a lighter sentence based on your situation. If you felt you had no choice but to break probation to visit a sick relative, for example, a plea from an attorney on your behalf could increase your chances of a lighter sentence. An attorney may also file an appeal or a motion to modify a sentence on your behalf.
The Consequences of Violating Probation in Pennsylvania
If a judge finds you guilty of violating your probation, you may have to fulfill the terms of your original sentence, as well as face additional penalties for the new violation. The consequences you face will depend on factors such as the severity of the violation, if you committed a new crime and whether this is the first time you have violated probation.
- Extension of your probation time
- Court-ordered drug or alcohol counseling programs
- Additional community service hours
- Stricter probationary terms
- Probation revocation
- Serving your original jail sentence
- An additional sentence up to the maximum for your original crime
A probation violation by committing another crime could result in more severe penalties, such as a longer jail sentence or additional criminal charges against you. Even if police accuse you of committing a crime with no criminal conviction, it could violate the terms of your parole and lead to a court hearing. The best way to protect your rights if you violate probation in Delaware County is to hire an attorney to provide counsel and represent you during a hearing. A lawyer can help you go before a judge, argue your case and fight for minimal penalties.