If you have been accused of violating the terms of your probation, you need to mount a strong defense to avoid prison time. If you have violated your probation, have been falsely accused of violating, or have any reason to believe that your probation officer will soon report you for a violation, it is essential that you take immediate action.
If you or someone you care about has been charged with violating your probation in Doylestown, PA or anywhere in Bucks County, experienced probation attorney Joseph D. Lento is here to help.
Doylestown/Bucks County Violation of Probation Attorney
Joseph Lento has nearly two decades of experience defending Pennsylvanians. He knows that probation requirements can be difficult to comply with, especially when everyday obstacles such as access to transportation, finding childcare, scheduling shifts around support groups.
If you have been charged with a violation of probation in Bucks County and need a comprehensive defense, contact the Lento Law Firm. Call (888) 535-3686 today to schedule a consultation and discover what Joseph Lento can do to help you avoid incarceration.
Bucks County Court Process
If you are on probation in Doylestown or anywhere within the county, you will be working with the Bucks County Adult Probation & Parole Department. The Bucks County Adult Probation and Parole Department provides services for the Courts and community-based supervision of offenders placed under our jurisdiction. According to its mission statement, the Bucks County Adult Probation and Parole Department is a place where:
- Community and Officer Safety receives the utmost consideration.
- Victim restoration is highly valued and promoted.
- Honesty, respect, dignity, and fairness permeate all aspects of agency life.
- Offenders are challenged to effect positive life changes through the Department of Adult Probation and Parole.
- Innovative programming and new technologies are utilized.
- Partnerships within the community as well as other stakeholder agencies are essential.
If you are arrested or have been summoned for a violation of probation case, the case will be scheduled for a formal hearing at the Bucks County Justice Center, located at:
100 N Main Street
Doylestown, PA 18901
Violation of Probation
Pennsylvania law governs probation violations in 234 Pa. Code Rule 708. These violations typically take one of two forms: technical violations and substantive violations.
A technical violation is a failure by the person on probation to comply with one of the conditions imposed upon him or her by the court. These are the most common, and can easily be accidental or inadvertent. This is not technically an excuse, but Courts can be more forgiving when presented with the right legal defense.
Many times the conditions of probation can include appointments requiring travel. Depending on the terms of your probation, you may need to report for drug screening, counseling, substance abuse support groups, or more, all in one week. Access to transportation, health issues, and other life obstacles can get in the way of compliance. An experienced attorney can help present the argument that you were attempting in good faith to comply with the terms of your probation.
A substantive violation occurs when there is any violation of:
- a court order
- municipal ordinance
- county or state law
- federal law
during the time a person is on probation. These types of violations can be treated much more seriously. Not only will you face the possible penalties associated with your new charge, but you could face penalties related to your probation violation as well.
Examples of Probation Violations in Bucks County
Most probation violations are technical because violations of the court order are the most typically violated. Every person's conditions can be different, so it is crucial to know your specific requirements.
Common violations include:
- Moving/changing your address without permission of your probation officer
- Consuming an alcoholic beverage
- Failing to report as mandated by your probation officer
- Failure to complete required community service hours in the time required
- Failure to report to your probation officer as mandated by the court
- Failure to pay fines, costs, and restitution as ordered by the court
- Leaving the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania without your probation officer's permission
- Changing your employment without your probation officer's permission
- Using, possessing, or selling any controlled substance
- Possessing any firearm, ammunition, or other deadly weapons
- Failure to successfully complete treatment programs ordered by the court, such as
- Anger management classes
- Domestic batterers intervention program
- Father's group counseling
- Alcohol safe driving program
- Drug or alcohol evaluation and treatment
- Sex offender program
- Mental health treatment
Probation Violation Process
The first stage of the probation violation process is the Gagnon I Hearing. This commonly referred to as the "detainer hearing." These hearings determine if there is sufficient probable cause to justify violation allegations against you. At this same time, it will be determined whether or not you will be detained between then and your second hearing. A designated hearing officer hears the case at this stage and makes the decision. An attorney is permitted and encouraged at this stage, as it can all end here if possible.
The second stage is called the Gagnon II hearing, or the "VOP hearing." This is the final probation hearing process is your last chance to defend yourself against probation violation claims. The judge presides over this hearing, and the prosecutor will present evidence against you. This hearing proceeds more similarly to a criminal trial but has a lower "preponderance of the evidence" standard used to prove the charges against you. this is much lower than the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard in an actual criminal trial.
It is crucial that you have a highly experienced attorney at both proceedings. There are defenses to probation violations, and many can be worked out with proper explanation and negotiation.
Doylestown Probation Violation Defense Lawyer
If you have been accused of a probation violation in the Doylestown or the Bucks County area, it is highly recommended that you begin defending your future with as soon as possible. Joseph Lento is passionate about helping you avoid incarceration, successfully complete your probation, and move on with your life.
For your consultation on how Joseph D. Lento and the team at the Lento Law Firm can help you, call (888) 535-3686 today.