Probation is a standard part of a sentence for most convicted crimes. The terms of probation, however, vary depending on the offense. A probation sentence typically allows an offender to remain in the community, but they'll be under the state or county's watch to ensure all conditions of the court order are met. In Pennsylvania there are different types of probation available for offenders. Here's a closer look at the various types offered and their stipulations.
Also referred to as unsupervised probation, this form of probation is available to typically non-violent, low-risk offenders. For example, people who've been convicted of theft or drug possession may be sentenced to informal probation. Although this sentence is technically “unsupervised,” it's important to note that this doesn't mean that there aren't stipulations to abide by. It merely means that offenders aren't under the direct supervision of their own respective probation officer. But people who are sentenced with informal probation still are obliged to comply with the rules and regulations ordered by the court. These orders typically require offenders to pay fines and avoid breaking the law for the duration of the probation period.
Offenders placed on formal probation, also known as supervised probation, must abide by more strict stipulations than those sentenced to its counterpart above. They are required to routinely report to a probation office, whether that be in person or by phone. Additional provisions include community service, drug testing, counseling, paying restitution to victims, maintaining steady employment and other repercussions depending on the crime committed. A violation of formal probation almost always ends in being arrested and sent to jail.
Intensive Supervision Program
IPS is distinguished by the others due to its rigorous provisions. It's so strict that it's been compared to house arrest. Although offenders sentenced to this program are not required to stay at home, they must see their probation officer a lot. This sentence typically involves attending at least 12 meetings with a probation officer every month, as well as random face-to-face interaction and phone calls at any hour of the day and any day of the week.
When an offender is sentenced to this type of probation, they serve a short jail or prison term in an effort “shock” them into obeying the court-ordered terms. Once the imprisonment period is over and the offender is released, they'll be sentenced to another form of probation. But the catch is, if the offender breaks the realize even after being “shocked,” they will be sent back to serve a maximum sentence.
Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney
A significant part of being adequately prepared for your case entails seeking the help of an experienced attorney. A legal professional who defends criminal defense cases will know the ins and outs of the process and can get you on a course of action that ideally fits your needs. Attorney Joseph D. Lento brings a wealth of experience to the table, as he's successfully handled numerous cases just like yours. But most importantly, his familiarity with the overall process can be a source of comfort for you in one of the most stressful times of your life. For more information about his representation or how he can help you, contact him online or by phone today at 215-535-5353.