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Violation of Probation

If you're on probation, you've faced charges and know the dread you face when you're in the courtroom and your future is on the line. Probation, given to nonviolent offenders who have plead or been found guilty of their charges, is a way the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania gives people a second chance to live their lives.

However, that second chance comes with many, many conditions, and it can easily be taken away. If that happens, you could be spending the rest of your sentence in prison. The slightest violation can put you before the judge again with your whole future at stake.

Philadelphia Probation Violation Lawyer

If you know your probation officer will report any kind of violation to the judge, then the sooner your attorney is working on your case, the better your chances. An experienced Philadelphia probation violation lawyer from Alva & Shuttleworth, LLC can take on your case and defend you. Our criminal defense attorneys can also represent you in detainer hearings and any other matter that requires you to face a judge. We will zealously defend your rights and advocate for your best interests. Contact Alva & Shuttleworth, LLC today at (215) 665-1695 to set up a consultation.

We represent people facing hearings over probation violations throughout the Philadelphia region, including Montgomery County, Chester County, Bucks County, and Delaware County, as well as in New Jersey.


Violation of Probation Issues


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Technical Violations and Substantive Violations of Pennsylvania Probation

When you are put on probation, there are a number of conditions you must comply with. The conditions may come from the court when probation is set, or from the probation officer you are required to report to. For example, one condition that always exists is the requirement to promptly report certain changes in your life, such as if you move or switch jobs. When you fail to meet one of these conditions, it is a “technical violation” of your probation.

In addition to adhering to the conditions of your probation, a person on probation is also supposed to stay out of trouble. Breaking a federal law, state law, municipal ordinance, or court order, such as a Protection from Abuse Order or Restraining Order, is a substantive violation. A “substantive violation” indicates you have broken the spirit of probation by getting into trouble again. You are supposed to report any time you've been accused of, or even questioned about, a substantive violation. Substantive violations are also referred to as “direct violations”.

Both technical violations and substantive violations can affect your probation, and both can lead to its revocation.


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Examples of Probation Violations in Pennsylvania

Each person is going to have different conditions set for them, so there are different ways to violate probation. A few common ones include:

  • Failure to pay fines, fees, court costs and restitution over criminal matters;
  • Failure to complete community service hours;
  • Failure to report to your probation officer;
  • Leaving Pennsylvania without requesting and receiving approval from your probation officer;
  • Using controlled substances or alcohol, which may be tested by analyzing your urine;
  • Failure to report a change in address or employment;
  • Possessing a firearm or weapon; or
  • Failure to attend or complete a court-order program, such as:
    • Drug or alcohol evaluation and treatment;
    • Domestic violence or domestic batterers program;
    • Mental health protocol;
    • Alcohol safe driving enhanced supervision program;
    • Guardian Interlock Substance Abuse Program;
    • Fathers' group counseling;
    • Anger management counseling; or
    • Intermediate punishment program.

When you violate probation, your probation officer will file an affidavit with the court, and your probation may change for the worse or be revoked entirely as a result. If you know your probation officer will be filing an affidavit or you believe he will, a Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer can help you by arguing that your violation was not substantial, or that it was not willful.


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Detainer Hearings in Philadelphia

If you face new charges while on probation, you may be the subject of a detainer. A detainer is an order from the judge who sentenced you to probation, or who is supervising your probation, that you not be released on bail, meaning you will be required to stay in jail for the duration of the criminal process over the new charges.

To be released, the same judge must lift the detainer. Your attorney can file a request with the judge for a hearing over the detainer. At that hearing, your lawyer can explain why the detainer should be lifted and why you should be allowed out on bail.


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Representing You in Probation Violation Cases

If you are on probation, you understand that your are always on thin ice. When you feel the ice cracking beneath you, you can call a Philadelphia probation violation lawyer to help. At Alva & Shuttleworth, LLC, we are passionate advocates for our clients, and we will zealously defend you. Contact us today at (215) 665-1695 for a free consultation.

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