If a person is convicted of a crime, at their sentencing hearing, they may be offered a period of probation, rather than a jail sentence. Probation is a sentencing alternative to incarceration that allows a person to remain outside of jail, so long as they adhere to certain terms that are set by the court. These terms often include supervision from a probation officer, regular drug testing, and oftentimes mandatory participation in rehabilitative or community service programs. Probation is set for a certain period of time, however, it is possible to end probation earlier than scheduled, under certain circumstances. Probation can be negotiated in the Adult Probation Division of the Chester County Court of Common Pleas.
Termination of Probation in Chester County
Although probation is not incarceration, being placed on probation is still a restrictive state of being. Between the terms of probation, as well as any assigned court community service or programs, a person may have little time. Once a person completes anything ordered to them by the court, however, their probation period may still have time left on it before it expires. If this is the case, the defendant may want to consider seeking an early termination of their probation. The court will consider the following when such a request is filed:
- Any violations of the defendant's probation
- The criminal history of the defendant
- The probation officer's opinion on the overall cooperativeness of the defendant
- The defendant's evidence and argument to terminate their probation
Hearings for Termination of Probation in Chester County
If a defendant conducts a successful filing of a motion to end their period of probation, the court will send a notification to the probation officer assigned to the case. The probation officer must then decide whether to agree to the motion or to contest the motion. If the officer agrees, the defendant can immediately begin procedures for ending their probation, however, if the officer does not agree, the matter will be directed to a hearing. These hearings are decided by a judge, who will consider a defendant's arguments and reasoning for terminating their probation before making a final decision. The probation officer may also attend to submit opposing evidence.
Although it is possible for a defendant to undergo this process without the assistance of an attorney, finding time to file a motion and prepare a case can be difficult and frustrating. An attorney will be able to file the motion initially, and also provide guidance and representation for the defendant at a hearing. Legal counsel can be invaluable at this stage, and can strongly influence the outcome of a case.