In 2017, over 2,200 adults and more than 30 juveniles were charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Bucks County. Pennsylvania courts will impose a six month period of probation for first-time offenders convicted of operating under the influence of alcohol. Specifically, this applies to those who at the time of the offense had a blood alcohol concentration of between .08 and .10%. This is considered the lowest tier for these offenses. Those who exceed a BAC level of .10% face more stringent penalties, which include a suspension of driving privileges and some period of time in jail.
Understanding Probation in Bucks County
Those placed on probation are supervised by the Bucks County Adult Probation and Parole Department. The organization's mission is multi-faceted. The offenders are empowered to make “positive life changes.” The Department is focused on educational programming that uses the latest in technology. The administration has created both public and private partnership arrangements in the community.
Relationship to Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD)
Those who are on probation may also be in the ARD program. This is a program generally available to low-level offenders that have committed non-violent offenses. These programs are commonly referred to as “diversionary” or “alternative” and are generally rehabilitative in nature. Offenders that satisfy all of the ARD conditions may request that the court dismiss or expunge the charge(s).
Bucks County collects a monthly Supervision Fee from those who are on probation. Each individual must remit a $35 payment each month. These fees are to assist with funding the Department.
Rules and Regulations
The Bucks County Adult Probation Department has implemented sets of requirements for those on probation and parole. The rules of “general supervision” contain some of the following provisions:
- To report to the probation office at the times and dates specified
- A Probation Officer (PO) may visit those under supervision at their home or site of employment
- To promptly respond to any “summons to appear”
- Any out-of-state travel during the probation period must be pre-approved by the PO
- To abide by all local, state, and federal laws
- If an offender is arrested or being investigated by law enforcement they are to notify their PO by the following business day
- The offender must ensure the Department has their current address
- Efforts are to be made to remain gainfully employed and satisfy any support obligations for dependents. Any change to employment status should be reported promptly.
- Abstain from any Controlled Substances or other substances that are “mind-altering” unless prescribed by a physician
- Abstain from excessive consumption of alcohol
- Submit to any requests for drug and/or alcohol testing
- Not to own or possess any weapons
- To satisfy any court costs, fines, or restitution that was imposed in addition to the monthly Supervision Fee
- To attend and complete any classes or treatment as ordered
If an individual fails to adhere to the terms and conditions of their probation, they are to appear for a Violation Hearing. The Department may impose any previously suspended penalties including jail time for violations of probation (VOPs).
Importance of Attorney Representation for Probation Violations
Those who are faced with a VOP are encouraged to proactively consult with an attorney. Your attorney is critical if you will now be charged with any offenses that were previously waived or suspended. Often your attorney's role in these matters is to minimize the penalties or sanctions that may be imposed.
A Lawyer for Violations of Probation in Bucks County
Attorney Joseph D. Lento is very familiar with Pennsylvania law, local court rules, and other aspects of the Bucks County justice system. He has unique experience in matters relating to probation because he has worked as a probation officer in both the juvenile and adult systems. For a case consultation, contact the office today at (888) 535-3686.