In 2017, law enforcement in Chester County charged roughly 1,600 adults and at least 13 juveniles for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Courts in Pennsylvania will impose a period of probation for six months for first-time offenders convicted of operating under the influence of alcohol. This applies specifically to those who at the time of the offense had a blood alcohol concentration of between .08 and .10%--the lowest tier for these offenses. Charged individuals with a BAC level of .10% or more encounter more stringent penalties, which include a suspension of driving privileges and some period of time in jail.
Courts in Pennsylvania define probation as an alternative to incarceration for those convicted of offenses. Further, it allows the offender to remain within the community while being supervised by a Probation Officer (PO) and requires adherence to conditions ordered by the court.
In Chester County, a $40 monthly Supervision Fee is required by those on active probation. Chester County's DUI program requires offenders to attend a 12.5-hour instructional session known as the Alcohol Highway Safety School. The instructors are licensed and trained at the state level.
Chester County Adult Probation
The Department of Adult Probation and Parole strives to maintain active supervision of those sentenced. Their overall mission is described as promoting safety in the community through “interventions that bring about long-term positive change” in those being supervised. Probation officers provide admissions, assess the individuals sentenced, and may make referrals as needed. The assessment process helps to direct the sentenced individual to appropriate resources and assist in their compliance.
Conditions of Probation
The Common Pleas Court in Chester County developed a written set of guidelines for those on probation that include some of the following:
- To remain compliant with laws and ordinances at all levels
- All arrests or interaction with members of law enforcement must be reported to the PO in a 72-hour period
- Report to the PO at the time(s) and dates(s) specified
- Reporting may be required twice a week, weekly, or monthly
- Comply with any searches of property or vehicles
- Compliance with any order for treatment and associated costs
- If leaving the state, to notify the PO in advance
- To promptly report any changes in employment or residence
- To maintain employment and pay all support obligations
- Avoid all illegal drugs, controlled substances, and alcohol
- Compliance with all requests for testing to detect the presence of alcohol or drugs
- Not to possess any weapons
Potential Drug or Alcohol Violation
If the results of a drug screening are in dispute, the individual may request an additional test by an independent laboratory. The offender must pay $50.00 to cover the costs. Drug or alcohol violations may result in a third-degree misdemeanor charge. These violations of probation (VOPs) and others may result in revocation of probation and penalties including jail time.
Having an Attorney for Violations of Probation
If you have violated the conditions of your probation, it is best to contact an experienced defense attorney. They may be able to assist you with minimizing the penalties and maintaining your freedom.
Chester County Lawyer for Probation Violations
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has represented those facing violations of probation for many years. He is skilled in these and other areas of criminal defense. Contact the office today for a consultation at (888) 535-3686.