Once you are put on probation, you must abide by a number of terms ordered by the court for the entirety of your probation period, and you cannot acquire any new criminal charges. Failing to meet these conditions means that you have violated probation. Probation violations fall into one of two categories according to statutory law: technical and direct violations.
Technical Violations vs. Direct Violations
If a defendant doesn't comply with a term of probation it is known as a technical violation. Using drugs or alcohol, not completing community service hours, and leaving the state without permission from a probation officer are examples of technical violations. Direct violations, however, occur when a defendant is convicted of a new offense. They are perceived as the most serious violations in the eyes of the court. But regardless of the nature of the violation, it will bring about serious repercussions in Delaware County.
Upon notification of an alleged violation, the court will require you to attend multiple hearings. The first one will take place almost immediately after the violation has been committed. It is typically informal and is conducted before a magistrate or a commissioner instead of a judge. Because it is scheduled so closely after a violation without prior notice, defendants are given the time to retain legal counsel. Due to this lack of representation, defendants with direct violations or egregious technical violations may be issued a detainer - an order that prohibits defendants from being released from custody until charges are resolved.
Within 30 days of the initial hearing, a second hearing will be scheduled. This hearing is much more formal and will be held before a judge. Two elements of your case will be decided in this hearing. First, based on the evidence, a judge will decide if there was an actual violation of probation. If so, then the judge will decide the appropriate consequences. In worst case scenarios, defendants are sent to prison for the remainder of their sentence or they are re-sentenced. In both cases, defendants are likely to get additional time.
Why You Need an Attorney
This is why retaining legal counsel in these circumstances is important. An attorney can file a motion to get a detainer lifted, so you can face the potential violation and/or new criminal charges outside of a jail cell. A legal professional can also challenge the validity of an alleged violation, and present a case that convinces a judge that incarceration isn't the most effective sentence for you. Joseph D. Lento pulls out all the stops for his clients in this position. He has gotten family members to appear in court for a defendant's behalf and has presented evidence that suggests you were a productive citizen while you were on probation.
Let Me Help You - Delaware County Criminal Defense Attorney
For Delaware County defendants facing potential incarceration for a probation violation, the stakes are extremely high. But it is possible to avoid a finding of a violation or imprisonment with the help of an experienced and skilled attorney. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped numerous defendants prevail in violation of probation hearings, as well as motions to lift a detainer. His representation has curtailed the consequences of potential violations and helped defendants avoid incarceration by fighting for alternative recommendations. For more information about how he can help you, contact him today.