Probation is perceived as a privilege and saving grace for defendants in the eyes of the criminal justice system. Most defendants are grateful to still be a functioning member of society, even though this freedom has limitations. But despite the sentence being an alternative to jail, costly fines, and in some circumstances, prison, it can still be a pretty harsh sentence.
For some people, being placed on probation doesn't affect their daily lives. But for others (particularly those who with stricter conditions to adhere to), probation can be a large inconvenience. Many defendants report that the stipulations they've been ordered by the court are incredibly difficult, if not impossible to fulfill due to the personal or financial hardship they are undergoing. And before they know it, they are stuck in the same situation they were in before they were placed on probation.
Individuals who are impacted by the the sometimes unreasonably restrictive nature of probation should be aware of what's at stake when they fail to comply with their conditions, and commit a “direct violation” of probation.
Direct Violations in Chester County
Generally, most probation terms and conditions are highly individualized. But there is one guidelines that every defendant is expected to comply with despite the circumstances: no more run-ins with law enforcement.
Some states have taken a more lenient approach to enforcement in response to direct violations of probation. In these areas, a defendant who acquires new charges and is found guilty of a crime has officially committed a direct violation. But in states like Pennsylvania, the rules are different. Merely being arrested for a crime and acquiring new charges in the state is enough to constitute a direct violation. Even if a defendant is not convicted of these charges, the state's system allows judges to revoke his or her's probation term, reinstate the original case and re-sentence a defendant. Since revocation hearings require a lower standard of proof than actual trials, sentencing oftentimes results in the maximum term for the original offense.
Detainers and Direct Probation Violations
Once a probation officer receives word of an alleged direct violation of probation, he or she may see it fit to issue a detainer against you. A detainer prohibits defendants from posting bail and being released from jail after an arrest until the new charges have been resolved. Defendants who have been issued detainers have reported spending weeks, and even months behind bars while their charges are mitigated.
But for defendants who wish to be active in this process and defend themselves, being in police custody is their worst nightmare. The only way to get out is to lift a detainer, which can only be done through the assistance of an attorney. A skilled defense attorney who has the authority to submit a motion on your behalf that details why you should be able to challenge these charges outside of police custody.
Chester County Criminal Defense Attorney
Direct violations should be taken seriously, as they often lead to the revocation of a probation term. If you have been accused of a direct violation, it is important you immediately contact an attorney. Skilled Chester County legal professional Joseph D. Lento has extensive experience successfully representing defendants who have been in your shoes in West Chester, and he can do the same for you. Contact him today for help.