After a defendant is convicted of a crime, the court may elect to sentence them to a term of probation instead of having the defendant serve a jail sentence. Probation is a period of time assigned to a defendant where they are assigned a probation officer, who checks in with the defendant to ensure that they are adhering to certain terms or conditions of their probation. Terms of probation can include maintaining an address, drug and alcohol testing, or regular attendance to rehabilitative or service programs associated with the crime the defendant was convicted on. Although probation is certainly preferable to incarceration, probation can still feel restrictive on a defendant's lifestyle. A defendant serving probation in Philadelphia may be able to request an early termination at the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas.
Termination of Probation in Philadelphia County
Filing for early termination of probation can be time-consuming and confusing. Not only must a defendant be within the standard terms of their probation, but they must also have completed any necessary service or rehabilitation programs assigned to them before negotiations may even begin. Once the programs are fulfilled, and a defendant has time left over to complete, they may wish to file for termination of their probation. The court will consider the following:
- Any and all probation violations
- The criminal history of the defendant
- The defendant's willingness to cooperate with their probation officer
- The defendant's argument in their motion for termination
Termination of Probation Hearings in Philadelphia County
Once the motion is filed, there is a potential for a termination hearing to take place. First, the probation officer will receive notification of the defendant's request for termination. The probation officer can either agree to terminate the probation or can contest the defendant's probation ending. If the officer agrees, the matter will be much more simple, however, if the officer contests the defendant's request, a hearing will be held. At hearings, the probationer defendant must present valid evidence and argument for terminating their probation, while the officer may present evidence against. These hearing will take place in front of a judge, who will weigh out the factors between each party's case.
Probation is a difficult situation for a defendant to be placed under and can have several impacts on a defendant's quality of life. While filing for the termination of probation is possible without the aid of an attorney, an experienced criminal defense attorney can give a defendant the edge they may need in court to be victorious at their hearings. Attorneys can also work with the courts to make sure that a defendant's filing is heard sooner rather than later.