Philadelphia Violation of Probation Lawyers

Law Offices of Mark D. Copoulos

Philadelphia Violation of Probation Lawyer

Mark Copoulos has experience lifting detainers for technical and direct violations of probation including new criminal charges, positive drug tests, failure to report and related violations.

Violations of probation in Philadelphia, PA come in two forms.  There are direct and technical violations. A direct violation means the defendant has picked up a new case while on probation. A technical violation means the defendant has failed to comply with his probation but has no new cases.  The most common technical violations are positive drug tests, failure to report, or failure to get drug treatment or job training.

A defendant who is charged with a violation of probation may be ordered to “turn himself in” to Philadelphia Probation and Parole at 1401 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102. From there the defendant is usually sent to county prison.  If the hearing is technical in nature the defendant may be permitted to face the violation “from the street.”  If incarcerated a Gagnon Hearing will be held.  At the hearing a detainer is usually issued.  The defendant is then subjected to incarceration until his detainer is lifted.  A detainer can be lifted either at a violation of probation or detainer hearing.  The back judge  presides over the detainer / violation of probation hearing unless exceptional circumstances arise.

The first issue at a violation of probation hearing is whether the violation is direct (more serious) or technical (less serious).  If the violation is direct and the case is pending, the judge will usually continue the hearing until the new case is over. This means the defendant may sit in prison. At this point it may make sense to file a motion to lift detainer or aggressively litigate the new case to disposition.  Once the new case is resolved the judge will address the violation of probation.  The judge will consider the disposition of the open case.  If the defendant beat the open case the detainer will almost always be lifted without a hearing.  If the defendant lost the new case then he may face an additional sentence for  his violation of his probation.

If the defendant is facing a direct violation of probation and his case is pending, it may make sense to hire a lawyer to litigate a motion to lift detainer. At a detainer hearing a judge will consider lifting a detainer even if the defendant has an open case. While the decision rests on many factors, one of the most important factors is the seriousness of the new charges. For example a defendant who is charged with Retail Theft has a far higher likelihood of winning a motion to lift detainer than a defendant whose new case is Possession of Firearm Prohibited. Our firm will not handle a detainer hearing unless we believe there is a reasonable chance the judge will lift the detainer.  

If the defendant is facing a technical violation the judge will hold a violation of probation hearing. At the hearing the judge will determine the sentence for the violation. The judge may consider the nature of the violation, the defendants behavior on probation, whether he is working, going to school, engaging in productive activities, and his history on probation. The DA will then present their opinion of the violation and make a recommendation of additional probation or prison time.

It is important to have a zealous advocate at a detainer hearing who is familiar with both the underlying case and the alleged violation. It may be helpful to have family members appear in support of the defendant. Finally any evidence of positive and productive activities available upon defendants release should be presented to the judge. Many judges want to see evidence the defendant will be productive and working if released from prison.

Our firm has litigated thousands of violation of probation hearings in Philadelphia, PA. We can help you face this violation and move on with your life.

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