When a person is convicted of a crime, the court may sometimes sentence them to a term of probation, rather than incarceration. Probation is a sentencing alternative that allows a person to remain outside of an incarceration facility and in the general public, however, they must adhere to terms of probation set by the court. Common terms of probation can include regular drug testing, court supervision from a probation officer, and mandatory participation in any number of court assigned programs. While probation is a better and more preferable alternative to incarceration, a defendant nevertheless still has a number of restrictions placed on them. When a person wishes to negotiate their probation, they can proceed to the Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas and take the case up with the Adult Probation Department.
Termination of Probation in Lehigh County
Probation will have a set date of ending that is determined at the initial sentencing hearing. Between the regular check-ins and mandatory program participation that a defendant must endure, probation can feel very restrictive. Once a defendant has completed their mandatory assigned program, such as community service or rehabilitative programs, their term of parole may still have time left before it is completed. When this happens, a defendant may wish to terminate their probation early. Factors that play a role in the court's decision of whether or not to grant this include:
- Any violations of the terms of probation
- The criminal history of the defendant
- The probation officer's opinion of the defendant's overall cooperativeness
- The defendant's ability to argue and present evidence for their case
Hearings for Termination of Probation in Lehigh County
When a defendant wishes to terminate their probation earlier than the scheduled time, they must first conduct a filing of a motion putting this request forward with the court. Once a proper filing is done, the court will notify the defendant's probation officer. The probation officer can either agree or contest the motion. If the probation officer agrees with the motion, the court will allow the defendant to begin the process of ending their probation. If the officer contests the motion, a hearing will be held. These hearings will ultimately be decided by the strength of defendant's argument and evidence for their release. A judge will make the final decision whether or not to terminate the probation.
While a defendant is capable of conducting these filings and preparing their arguments on their own, it is strongly advisable to enter these hearings with services of an attorney. An attorney can help a defendant prepare a strong case, and can also conduct the filing for the defendant as well to help with efficiency.
If you or a loved one is seeking to end their probation in Bucks County, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.