When a defendant is put on probation, all or a portion of their jail sentence and/or fine is suspended. However, with this privilege comes responsibilities. Defendants are expected to adhere to a number of mandatory conditions that are ordered by the court. These conditions are based on the nature of the crime committed.
Some defendants (particularly those with more stringent conditions) have had an unpleasant experience with probation. The financial or personal hardships that plague many defendants make completely fulfilling these stipulations incredibly difficult, if not impossible.
If you have felt excessively inconvenienced by probation, or feel as if your unreasonably restrictive term is hindering you from completing your conditions, it is important you understand what is at stake. Being accused of committing a “technical” violation of probation may be more serious than you may think.
Technical Probation Violations in Chester County
Technical violations are commonly committed by people on probation. Due to the high frequency of this violation, many individuals have adopted the attitude that technical violations are minor, and will likely lead to a slap on the wrist, rather than actual repercussions. But this isn't always the case. In some circumstances, technical violations have lead to revocation hearings, putting defendants in danger of being subject to the reinstatement of their original charges. But this time around there will be no presumption of innocence nor will the case be mitigated by a fair jury trial. Unfortunately, maximum penalties are often imposed in reinstatement cases.
The terms that are assigned to defendants are based on the nature of their case, which makes them highly individualized. Therefore, there are a plethora of ways to potentially violate probation. Here is a list of commonly violated technical violations:
- Failing to pay restitution, fines, court costs and any other fees related to a case
- Using drugs and/or alcohol throughout the probationary period
- Failing to initiate and/or complete a court-ordered program (substance abuse treatment, anger management, mental health protocol etc.)
- Possessing a firearm or any other type of weapon
- Failing to complete community service hours
- Leaving the state or country without the approval of a probation officer
- Failing to report a change in employment or address
The Probation Violation Process
Upon the receipt of an alleged technical probation violation, a probation officer will file an affidavit to the court detailing the circumstances of a violation. The court will make one of two decisions: it will either impose stricter probation conditions, or revoke the sentence altogether. In situations involving the latter, it is important you immediately contact an attorney.
Technical Violations and Detainers
Once the new charges have been acquired, a probation officer may deem it necessary to issue you a detainer. A detainer prohibits defendants from being released from jail until the charges are sorted out. Due to the lodging of a detainer, people have been forced to remain in custody for weeks, and even months until their new charges are resolved.
The only way to lift is a detainer is to seek the help of an attorney. An attorney has the authority to file a motion on your behalf that will make it possible for you to fight your new charges out of police custody.
Chester County Criminal Defense Attorney
An attorney can be incredibly valuable in cases involving probation issues. Retaining one could prevent small issues snowball into problems that could result in a revocation. And if you have already been reported for a violation, an attorney can help you properly defend these charges, or significantly minimize the sentence you are facing in a revocation hearing. Skilled Chester County legal professional Joseph D. Lento is here to help. Contact him today.