Probation violations can lead to serious consequences in Pennsylvania. Depending on the terms of your probation, the severity of your violation, and if you have previous violations, you could face consequences that range from a warning to revocation of your probation.
If you face allegations of a violation, a violation of probation lawyer in Montgomery County can help. A Montgomery County probation violation lawyer from the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., can ensure your rights remain protected and fight for the best outcome possible based on the facts of your case. We offer free legal consultations on all criminal defense cases.
Let Us Handle Your Pennsylvania Probation Violation
When we represent our clients in a probation violation hearing, we have one of two goals:
- To provide evidence our clients did not violate their probation; or
- To mitigate the damage a probation violation can do and minimize the penalty.
We need to present you in the best possible light to the court during your hearing. This may require collecting documentation and presenting evidence to show you are thriving while on probation. We might demonstrate you completed court-ordered counseling, you are working or enrolled in school, you positively engage with the community, and you are taking other steps to improve your life.
In addition, we can identify and present any available evidence to fight the allegation that you violated the terms of your probation. Probation officers and police are not infallible, and we may be able to prove them wrong about your alleged violation.
Understanding Your Rights When Facing Probation Violation Charges
One of the most important roles of a violation of probation lawyer is to protect your rights throughout the process. Regardless of the charges against you, you deserve the best chance at a fair outcome in your case. Your rights include:
- The right to a written notice of your alleged violations;
- The right to a hearing in front of a neutral judge;
- The right to have an attorney represent you; and
- The right to present evidence to refute the allegations against you.
Possible Consequences of a Montgomery County Probation Violation
If you violated your probation in Montgomery County and your probation officer took action, you will likely face a hearing in front of a judge to determine any penalties you might face. If the judge considers you in violation of your probation—because you committed a technical violation or a new crime—they have the option to revoke your probation.
While this is the most serious outcome of a probation violation, it is not the most common. The judge has several other options they can pursue. We can fight for the penalty that offers the least interference with your normal routine of work or school.
To determine your sentence, the judge will consider:
- The seriousness of your new crime or the nature of your technical violation;
- Your existing criminal record;
- Recommendations from your probation officer;
- The case we present supports a certain penalty; and
- Whether this is a first-time probation violation or you have a record of previous violations.
- The evidence supporting or countering the accusation.
Based on these factors, the judge can decide to:
- Revoke your probation and send you to jail;
- Modify your probation, changing or adding terms and conditions;
- Require you to attend court-ordered alcohol or drug counseling;
- Order you to complete community service; or
- Extend your probation.
The Role of a Violation of Probation Lawyer in Your Case
Many people do not realize that probation represents an agreement between you and the courts of Montgomery County. If the court grants you probation, it is trusting you to follow the strict terms and conditions as a trade-off for avoiding incarceration. When you violate your probation, the judge has the option of dissolving this agreement and forcing you to go to jail.
We fight for all of our clients and we will do everything we can to prevent you from having your probation revoked. However, if you violate your probation by committing a serious crime or have multiple technical violations, the court may opt to send you to jail instead of allowing you to remain free.
If you committed the violation and have a history of serious crimes or repeated violations, we may be able to request the courts offer an alternative to jail time. While this is not always successful, we can often present a strong enough case to show that incarceration would hurt your chances at rehabilitation. Examples include:
- If you repeatedly failed drug tests while on probation, we can ask the court to order outpatient drug counseling so you can continue to attend school.
- If you receive a jail sentence, we can argue you would have to quit school and might not ever finish your degree program.
Probation Violation Cases We Handle
We can handle any type of probation violation case. However, some of the most common we see stem from:
- Failure to report to a probation officer;
- Failure to appear in court;
- Failed alcohol or drug tests;
- Failure to meet terms of probation, such as paying fines or doing community service;
- Possession of illegal drugs;
- Possession of weapons disallowed while on probation;
- Possession of other banned contraband;
- Arrest for drug- or alcohol-related crimes;
- Arrest for relatively minor criminal offenses;
- Failure to complete court-mandated rehabilitation or counseling; and
- Violation of other conditions of your probation.
If your probation violation includes the alleged commission of a new crime, you could face serious consequences. This is true even if your previous charge and the new charge are not related. We can defend you against the new charges, while also representing you during your probation violation hearing.
Frequently Asked Questions About Probation
Courts have several options available when it comes to sentencing after a conviction. Probation is one available option. We have listed common questions we are asked about probation below.
What Is Probation?
When a person has been found guilty of a crime, the court may order probation. Probation gives the person who was convicted the opportunity to remain in the community under the supervision of a probation officer.
One type of probation is when someone serves jail time and their sentence may be cut short if the offender gets put on probation. Another type of probation is when the offender doesn’t serve any jail time and is put on probation as their punishment instead.
What Are The Penalties for First-Time Violations in Pennsylvania?
For first-time probation violations, you are less likely to face serious consequences. Several factors determine the severity of your consequences for a first-time offense. These include:
- If you are now facing new criminal charges
- If your probation officer reports the violation
- How serious the violation is
While it is likely you may not face as serious of charges, you could still be given a serious penalty. Penalties could include:
- Serving your original sentence or the maximum amount of jail time for your offense
- Mandatory alcohol and drug counseling
- Your probation being extended
- Your current probation agreement could be modified to have more strict terms
- You could be required to perform additional community service hours
There are many ways someone could violate their probation. The obvious way would be committing an additional crime. Other violations include associating with known criminals, missing an appointment with your probation officer, failing drug and alcohol tests, or leaving the state without permission.
The attorneys at our firm will be by your side if you have been charged with a first-time probation violation. We understand that can be scary and we don’t want you to handle this alone.
Is Violating Probation a Misdemeanor in Pennsylvania?
Violating probation alone is not a misdemeanor in the state of Pennsylvania. If you violated your probation by committing a new crime, the new crimes could be considered a misdemeanor depending on the severity of the offense.
Violating probation is a technical violation because you did not adhere to the conditions of your probation. A technical violation is not illegal but a judge could still inflict harsh penalties for not following the rules of your probation.
Can I Get the Length of Time I Am On Probation Shortened?
In Pennsylvania, it is possible to end probation early. People on probation can petition the court to end their probation early. To end your probation early, a judge could require you to have met the conditions of your probation. Examples of these conditions include rehabilitation completed, the money you owed paid, and community service hours completed. More severe convictions are less likely to be given shortened probation.
If you have questions about ending probation early, a Montgomery County probation violation lawyer can help. We understand the process of filing a petition to end your probation early.
Call the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., Today
If you face accusations of a probation violation in Montgomery County, the McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., can help you minimize the effect these accusations have on your life. We will fight for the best available outcome in your case, representing you and your best interests in your violation hearing.
We offer free consultations to all potential clients. During the consultation, we will discuss the circumstances of your case and how we can help. Contact attorney David C. McKenzie III today at (610) 680-7842 to get started.