There are two general categories of probation violations in Pennsylvania: technical violations and new criminal offenses. Depending on the terms of your probation, technical violations can vary. Almost any new criminal charge, including summary offenses and relatively minor misdemeanor offenses, are also probation violations.
At the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., we can help you understand what is considered a probation violation in Pennsylvania. Call 610-680-7842 for a free consultation with a probation violation lawyer.
What Is a Technical Probation Violation in Pennsylvania?
These occur when you violate the terms and conditions the judge put on your probation agreement. Probation is an agreement that you will abide by certain terms if the court allows you to remain under probationary supervision instead of sending you to jail. The ways you get a technical violation vary depending on the terms of your probation, but some of the most common violations stem from:
- Failing to contact your probation officer as scheduled;
- Failing a drug test;
- Not notifying your probation officer about a move or job change;
- Quitting your job or leaving school;
- Failing to complete mandatory drug or alcohol counseling; and
- Failing to pay fines, fees, or restitution.
What If I Committed Another Crime While on Probation?
If you violate your probation by committing another crime, your probation officer can arrest you immediately. If this occurs, state law guarantees you the right to a probation violation hearing within two days. You also have the right to have an attorney present to represent you during this hearing. Following your hearing, the judge can modify your probation, add stricter terms, or revoke the remainder of your probation and keep you in jail.
Committing any criminal act violates your probation agreement. Even a minor offense can lead to serious consequences if you are already on probation for a previous conviction. This is true even if you committed two unrelated crimes. For example, if you are on probation after a drug possession arrest and now face theft charges, you will still probably go in front of a judge for a hearing. We can represent you in court for the probation violation appearance, as well as defend you if the district attorney pursues additional criminal charges against you.
You may also face a probation violation hearing simply because police accuse you of a second crime. If this occurs in your case, we can present a strong defense on your behalf during your hearing and argue the judge should not take action until there is a conviction in your other case.
What Are the Consequences of a Violation?
The judge has a lot of discretion when it comes to the type of penalties you will face after a violation. In most cases, the judge will consider a number of factors before making a decision, such as:
- The nature of your violation;
- The seriousness of your new crime or technical violation; and
- If this is your first violation or you have previous probation violations.
While the judge could revoke your probation for any violation, we can often argue for a modification in terms or another penalty instead. After we review the facts of your case, we will have a better idea of the type of consequences you may expect if we cannot prove you did not violate your probation.
Some possible outcomes of a violation include:
- Revocation of your probation, meaning you will serve out your original sentence in jail;
- Probation revocation and another sentence, up to the legal maximum for your original crime;
- Mandatory enrollment in a drug rehabilitation program or other court-ordered counseling;
- Extension of your probation sentence;
- An order to perform community service; and
- A modification of the terms of your probation.
Depending on the outcome of your hearing, you could face devastating consequences that affect all aspects of your life. If you go to jail for even a few weeks, you could lose your job or have to drop out of school. Your family might suffer.
How Can I Talk to a Pennsylvania Probation Violation Lawyer Today?
If you have to go before a judge during a revocation hearing, you need someone who can stand by your side and offer support and guidance. When you enlist the help of attorney David C. McKenzie III and the criminal defense team from the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., we will fight to minimize the potential penalties you face and work to get your life back to normal as soon as possible.
Call us today at 610-680-7842 and let us review your case.