Philadelphia Detainer Lawyer

Philadelphia Detainer Lawyer


Philadelphia detainer attorneys play an important role.  Defendants who are arrested on probation are placed on detainers.  A detainer is a legal mechanism that prevents a defendant from being released from prison until he sees his judge.  In order to remove the detainer a Philadelphia criminal defense attorney must file a motion to lift detainer.  The motion asks the judge to remove the detainer so that the defendant may be released from prison


A Philadelphia criminal defense attorney may assist in lifting a detainer for technical violations of probation.  In such cases there is no new arrest.  Instead the defendant violated some term of his probation.  The most common violations are failure to report to the probation officer, a positive drug test or failure to maintain employment, etc.  Such technical violations are commonly resolved without a prison sentence.  The Philadelphia criminal lawyer may ask the judge to lift the detainer and reinstate the defendant’s probation.

If you have been arrested for a technical violation of probation contact an attorney immediately as you may be eligible for release with a detainer motion.  Please note case results vary and depend on a variety of factors.  Therefore, it is important you schedule a free consultation with a qualified professional.  The attorney should have experience in the Philadelphia court system.


The more serious violations of probation are direct violations.  In these cases the defendant has been arrested for new criminal charges while on probation.  Whether a Philadelphia criminal lawyer can lift the detainer usually depends on the severity of the charges.  For example if the defendant is arrested for a non-violent drug offense it may be possible to lift the detainer.  If the new case is homicide or aggravated assault charge then the defendant may have to resolve his new case before getting his detainer lifted.  Therefore, it is important to speak with a Philadelphia Criminal Lawyer about whether your defendant is eligible for a motion to lift detainer.  While many slick lawyers while simply take your money and file a detainer motions irrespective of the chances, our office will assess the defendant’s chances of having his detainer lifted.  If there is a small chance of success we will inform of you this up-front or may decline representation.  In our opinion this is the only ethical way to practice law.

If you have picked up a new case, you may be eligible for release from prison.  Speak with an attorney about filing a motion to lift detainer.  Assess your chances realistically based on whether the new charges is violent or non-violent in nature.  If you are facing violent criminal charges (e.g., homicide aggravated assault) it is unlikely your detainer will be lifted.  If you are facing new non-violent charges (e.g., drug possession, drug sale) you may be eligible for a detainer motion or 701 consolidation to negotiate release from prison.


In some cases where a detainer motion is ineffective, the defendant may ask for a 701 consolidation.  The consolidation combines the defendant’s new case with his probation violation before his back judge.  In consolidating the cases the defendant can ask for one sentence of probation and immediate release for prison.  Such consolidations may make sense where the defendant is sitting on a non-violent open case and the back judge has not lifted his detainer.  Obviously, decisions about whether to plead guilty or try a case are fact specific and must be individually assessed.  Therefore it is critical you speak with a Philadelphia criminal defense attorney about whether to enter in a 701 consolidation.  It is also important to have a sense of the likely outcome of the consolidation.  Therefore your attorney should be able to assess whether you will be released from prison if you enter in the consolidation.


There are many factors in lifting a detainer.  In order to lift the detainer the judge usually needs some assurance that if released the defendant will be a productive law-abiding citizen.  For example it is usually beneficial to gather the following information before the detainer hearing: Proof of employment, graduation history (if any), where the defendant will live when released, information about the violation, family ties, etc.  The more prepared your attorney is about the facts of the defendant’s life the greater chance of success in lifting the detainer.


Our firm has had dramatic success in lifting detainers.  We only accept cases where we believe defendant has a chance of being released from prison.  Once such cases are accepted we immediately visit the defendant in prison.  We gather information that may lead to a favorable outcome.  After speaking with the defendant we get more information from friends and family members about the defendant’s life.  We may collect documents to assist with our detainer motion.  Next we file a detainer motion and schedule the earliest date possible with the back judge.  On the date of the motion we may ask family members to appear in court on the defendant’s behalf.  Finally, we will ask the judge to lift the detainer. Proper preparation is critical to successfully lifting a detainer.  There are also few aspect of criminal law so rewarding as lifting detainers since if the detainer is lifted the defendant is immediately released from custody.

We point with pride to cases like Commonwealth v. C.W..  In that case defendant was arrested and charged with Receiving Stolen Property while on probation.  Our firm immediately filed a motion to lift detainer before the back judge.  Since the defendant was not a threat to the community the defendant lifted C.W.’s detainer and allowed him to fight his case from the street.  We have had similar success in lifting detainers with new direct violations where the offense is non-violent (e.g., possession with intent to deliver, possession of a controlled substance, etc.).


If you or a loved one has a detainer contact our offense for an assessment of your case.  We will immediately review the dockets and ascertain whether you may be eligible for a motion to lift detainer.  If such a motion makes sense we will work aggressively to have the defendant released as soon as possible.  For more information, contact our Philadelphia criminal lawyers at 267-535-9776.  We will immediately travel to the prison and begin working to have your loved one released from custody.


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Mark D. Copoulos

Mark D. Copoulos

From 2008-2011 Mark D. Copoulos worked for the First Judicial District, the Honorable Arnold, and the Honorable Shelley-Robins as interns and/or staff....

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The Law Office of Mark D. Copoulos was founded on our commitment to the client. We pride ourselves on unparalleled service. Our firm answers all incoming calls from clients, at all hours, and strives to promptly resolve your legal issue.

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