When an individual is placed on probation, there are certain conditions that must be met. These conditions may be ordered by the court or upheld by a probation officer. An example of a condition would be to disclose significant changes in your life, such as a new job or a move to a new residency. If a condition is not met, it is referred to as a “technical violation” of probation.
Technical violations are the most common probation violation. Since they are committed often, many people see them as minor infractions that won't warrant serious consequences. However, in some circumstances, technical violations have been the reason why defendants are faced with the very same sentence they were before they were placed on probation. But this time around, there will be no presumption of innocence or a jury trial.
Examples of Technical Probation Violations in Pennsylvania
Each person's probation terms are pretty individualized. Therefore, there are different ways to violation probation. Here are some examples of the most common technical violations to date:
- Failing to complete community service hours
- Leaving the state without requesting approval from a probation officer
- Using drugs or alcohol during the probationary period
- Possessing a firearm or weapon
- Failing to pay fines, restitution, court costs and fees over criminal matters
- Failing to report to a probation officer
- Failing to report a change in employment or address
- Failure to attend and/or complete a court-ordered program (Drug or alcohol treatment, mental health protocol, father's group counseling, anger management, etc.)
When a person allegedly violates probation, an officer will file an affidavit with the court detailing the technical violation. From here, the court ultimately has two options based on an assessment of the circumstances: stricter probation conditions or an entire revocation. This is why it's important for individuals on probation to consult an attorney to if they believe an affidavit has been filed. A skilled attorney will be able to aggressively defend you by asserting that the violation was unsubstantial, or unwillful.
Technical Violations and Detainers
Individuals facing new charges may be issued a detainer, or an order that prohibits them from posting bail and being released from jail until the charges are resolved. This means that people may be left in custody for weeks and even months until the charges are sorted out. Lifting a detainer is only possible through the assistance of an attorney who can file a motion on a person's behalf. This motion will include useful information about an individual's prior probation history, details about the new charges and reasons why they should be able to fight these charges outside of police custody.
Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been accused of violating probation, it is crucial that you immediately consult with an attorney. Knowledgeable legal professional Joseph D. Lento has extensive experience successfully representing clients who have been in your shoes. Contact him today for help.