Probation Violation Lawyer
When an individual does not comply with the requirements of his probation he is in technical violation. Using the above example, if a sex offender reports to probation and pornography is found on his phone he may be issued a violation. The probation officer (“PO”) will then have discretion to decide whether to incarcerate the defendant for the violation. This may depend on the officer’s relationship with the defendant. If the relationship is not good the defendant may be incarcerated and a detainer will be issued.
If a detainer is issued the defendant must wait to see a judge until he can be released. If defendant hires an Probation Violation lawyer then he may obtain an expedited court date. This can be done by going directly to the court staff to schedule a hearing consistent with the judge’s schedule. There are no guarantees your attorney can get a faster date than the regular court system, but this is often the case.
DIRECT VERSUS INDIRECT VIOLATION
Often when a technical violation is issued, the most important consideration is scheduling the court hearing immediately. In Philadelphia, defendants may not be incarcerated for long periods over small infractions. Conversely, some Common Pleas judges takes violations extremely seriously. In some cases Defendants are sentenced to their back-time, which may include a state sentence, for a violation of probation. With so much at stake it is critical you speak with a Probation Violation Lawyer immediately if a detainer has been issued for a technical violation of your probation.
Simply stated, a direct violation of probation is when a defendant on probation is arrested for a new case. Using the above-example, the defendant who is on probation for a sex offense is arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance. While the new infraction is a misdemeanor offense that does not regularly carry prison time in Philadelphia, the Defendant will again be incarcerated until he is taken before the judge to address the lodged detainer. In such cases, the back judge (the original judge that sentenced defendant on the first case), may sentence the Defendant to more probation, treatment, or a lengthy period of incarceration. It is important that you speak with a Probation Violation attorney local to your county to address your chances in any specific matter. While some judges may take a direct violation less seriously, other judges may treat even the above-example as a disregard for the Court and sentence the defendant to a long period of incarceration. Your attorney may be disposed to provide you with the most likely outcome in your particular matter.
A Rule 701 consolidation is often the fastest and most efficient means of releasing a defendant who is incarcerated on a direct violation (i.e., new case) of probation. Using the above example, if a defendant convicted of a sex offense is charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance, he will essentially be sitting in prison on a drug possession charge. In Philadelphia, most individuals do not sit in prison for long periods of time on non-violent misdemeanor offenses. Accordingly, it may make sense to “consolidate” or merge the new drug possession case with the violation of probation hearing. This “701 Consolidation” named after Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 701 will resolve all of Defendants open matters in a single hearing. If the likely outcome at the hearing is probation then a defendant sitting in prison may benefit from the consolidation. It could ensure that he is immediately released “same day” and has no additional court dates on the open matter.
LITIGATING THE VIOLATION
There are many defenses that can be raised at probation violation hearings. I outline some of those defenses in this blog post. Additionally, there are certain fundamentals that every lawyer should address in attempting to release a defendant from prison. At a minimum your lawyer should: Have friends and family show up in-court if possible; Have a theory for why the Violation occurred and why it will not happen again; Ask the judge for treatment options if incarceration is likely; Highlight positive action by the Defendant since sentencing on the back case; Consider beating the new case if incarceration is likely. These are just some important fundamentals to consider at a Violation of Probation or Detainer Hearing. For a free consultation of your legal matter, contact our office at 267-535-9776. Before any Probation Violation Hearing, Mark D. Copoulos will personally visit the Defendant and craft a personal theory or defense of the case. He will raise this defense before the judge if appropriate to maximize the chances Defendant is treated fairly. It is critical that a defendant evaluates all of their options before the Hearing, which may include the previously discussed 701 Consolidation, litigating the open matter, and/or scheduling a hearing for the back judge. Our attorneys are waiting to provide a free consultation of your criminal matter. Call now.