From intensive supervision and shock probation to unsupervised probation, there are so many different types of probation that one can serve, but each state has their own specific consequences when you violate your probation. If you’re currently on Philadelphia probation, you should know what’s specifically at risk if you violate your probation in PA.
So what is probation?
Probation can be defined as an alternative to imprisonment for someone who is convicted of or pleads guilty to a criminal offense. This type of consequence allows you to remain in the community, but under specific conditions and the supervision of a local probation officer. It sounds a lot less daunting than the alternative, but the situation can easily get a lot worse if you’re not on your best behavior during this time.
How do you violate probation?
Every state is different, as is every probation. In many cases, the judge will assign additional provisions specific to the individual sentencing, but overall Pennsylvania has general rules for what happens if you break your violation, and what qualifies as doing so.
To start, there are two types of probation violations in PA: technical violations and criminal offenses.
These violations occur when the terms and conditions that the judge has put in the probation agreement are not followed. By accepting your probation, you’re agreeing to abide by certain terms in order to stay out of jail. Some of these terms may include the following:
- Contacting your officer as scheduled
- Passing drug tests
- Notifying probation officers about a move or job change
- Remaining employed or in school
- Completing mandatory drug or alcohol counseling
- Paying fines, fees and restitution
If you commit another crime while on probation, it’s an automatic violation of the probation agreement and your probation officer has the right to arrest you immediately. You’re guaranteed a probation hearing under state law, as well as the presence of an attorney to represent you. As a result of the hearing, the judge can modify your probation, add stricter terms or determine another course of action.
What happens if you violate your probation for the first time in PA?
Consequences for first-time probation violations tend to result in less serious consequences than for subsequent violations, but there are many factors that determine this for each case. They include:
- Whether or not your probation officer reports the violation
- The seriousness and nature of the violation
- If you face new criminal charges
A judge has a lot of discretion in terms of the penalties that may follow. From a strict warning to possible jail time, there are varying degrees of probation violation sentencing. While he or she may try to revoke your probation all together, an experienced Philadelphia criminal defense attorney can help review the facts of your case and fight for modified terms or an alternative penalty. Possible outcomes of a violation may be:
- Revocation of your probation, resulting in jail time for the rest of the original sentence
- Revocation of your probation and another sentence, up to the legal maximum for your original crime
- Mandatory enrollment in drug or alcohol rehabilitation or counseling program
- Probation extension
- Modified probation terms
- Additional community service
Let’s not forget that any violations to your probation could also have personal ramifications as well. The resulting charges or jail time could cost you a job, the pursuit of your degree or affect your family life.
If you’d like to learn more about what happens if you violate your probation in Pennsylvania or have already received a violation of probation charge and need a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer, we can help you understand your rights and fight to minimize your sentence and protect your future. Contact us today.Read More
When you’re charged with a crime, you can only hope that it will all just go away. The truth is there’s an actual possibility this could happen before ever going to trial. You’re thinking the only way to get things back to normal and move forward is if your felony charges are dropped or dismissed, and while this is true, you may not realize the different legal meanings the two words have. So what’s the difference between charges dismissed vs. dropped?
Meaning of Charges Dropped
When criminal charges are filed by a prosecutor, it’s because they believe they can prove their case. That doesn’t necessarily mean a judge or jury will agree with them, but they feel confident that their evidence is strong enough to convince others of their argument. If at any point throughout the process, even before the charges have been officially filed, the prosecutor or arresting officer feels their case is not strong enough to hold up in court, they are able to drop the charges all together. But only the prosecuting party is able to do so.
Other reasons felony charges may be dropped:
- The victim around who the case was built decides not to cooperate
- The attorney of the prosecuting party is responsible for multiple cases at the time, causing them to allocate their time and resources to other cases of high priority.
- The defendant is willing to cooperate with prosecutors to help resolve other crimes or in another situation that enables the attorney to work out a deal or get the charge dropped altogether
Meaning of Charges Dismissed
In a criminal case, the defendant is assumed innocent until proven guilty. This means that the prosecutors must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant in fact committed the crime. By choosing to move for dismissal, the defendant is arguing that the accusing party does not have enough evidence to meet this standard for the jury to find him guilty. The motion is then taken into the judge’s hands, and if he agrees, the case will be dismissed.
A case can also be dismissed if the prosecutor has made a fundamental or procedural legal error during the time of the arrest, booking, interrogating, etc. by the prosecuting party or the evidence was obtained unlawfully in any way. In either case, charges can only be dismissed by the court and only after charges have been filed. Working with a skilled defense attorney is your best chance to ensure the protection of your rights and get your case dismissed.
What about Reducing a Charge?
It’s also possible to have a charge reduced. This is typically an option if there’s not enough evidence to support the initial charge, but enough to convict the defendant of a lesser charge.
In this case, the prosecutor will agree to dismiss the original charge with the offer of a “plea bargain agreement,” which requires the defendant to plead guilty or no contest to the lesser charge.
If you’ve been charged with a crime, you’ll want a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney working to protect your rights and fight for the best outcome possible. With a number of reasons for cases to be dropped or dismissed, make sure you have the best team on your side to defend your freedom and reputation, so you can move on with your life.
For more information on how to get a case dropped or how to get a case dismissed, contact us to discuss your specific legal situation today.Read More
While some states would regard driving under the influence as a mere traffic violation, leaving the convicted with just a slap on the wrist, in Pennsylvania, you won’t be so lucky. With DUI penalties in PA considered a criminal offense, you’re looking at serious consequences for both first and second time convictions.
Choosing to drive under the influence not only puts you and others at risk on the road, but it puts you at risk of consequences you’ll suffer for years to come. However, sometimes these laws are overly prosecuted or unfairly charged, and you may not know what to expect in order to protect yourself. So here’s what you need to understand about the actual cost of a drink when it comes to a PA DUI.
General Information on DUI Charges in Pennsylvania
About 15 years ago, the legal limit of alcohol was lowered from .10 to .08 by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. From this benchmark, there are three levels of a DUI.
- .08 to .099% BAC = General Impairment
- .10 to .159% BAC = High BAC
- .16% & up = Highest BAC
While these levels certainly impact the severity of a punishment, certain classifications may also play a role in your sentencing. Underage drivers, school vehicles and buses, commercial drivers, drivers who refuse a breathalyzer and drivers who cause injury or property damage to others could face harsher punishments under PA law.
Penalties for First Offense DUI in PA
General Impairment: Up to 6 months of probation and fines of approx. $300
High BAC: 48 hours to 6 months in jail and fines of $500- $5,000; license suspension for 12 months
Highest BAC: 72 hours to 6 months in jail and fines of $1,000- $5,000; license suspension for 12 months
If you’re experiencing a first-time DUI offense, you’re not typically looking at jail time, simply based on your BAC, but there are stipulations. If your BAC is higher than .099, jail time should now be a concern, while being under 21 years of age could mean up to 6 months of jail time, regardless of your BAC level.
Penalties for Second DUI in PA
While some may deem the punishments for a first-time offense as rather extreme, the ultimate goal is to prevent repeat offenders. If you’ve received a 2nd DUI in PA, you’re automatically facing jail time of 5 days to 5 years.
General Impairment: 5 days to 6 months in jail and fines of $300- $2,500; license suspension for 12 months
High BAC: 30 days to 6 months in jail and fines of $750- $5,000; license suspension for 12 months
Highest BAC: 90 days to 5 years in jail and fines of $1,500- $10,000; license suspension for 18 months
All BACs: Up to 150 hours of community service and ignition interlock device installed for 1 year; Enrollment in Alcohol Highway Safety School and an Alcohol and Drug treatment program
Whether you’ve been charged with a first or second offense DUI in Pennsylvania, there’s a lot at stake for your future, and it’s important to make sure you aren’t fighting the battle alone. As Philly’s DUI Lawyer, we’ll help you review all aspects of your case to protect your rights, ensure a fair hearing and help you move forward.
Contact us to set up a free consultation today.Read More
One of the first studies to determine the rate of wrongful, non-murder convictions was recently conducted in Pennsylvania. The study found a slightly higher rate of mistaken convictions than in murder or capital crime cases.
The lead researcher, a criminologist from a Pennsylvania university, created the study to focus on crimes other than homicide and rape, which he believed to be covered in other research. Under his team’s methodology, he determined that that conviction rate of innocent defendants was approximately 6 percent as opposed to 3 to 5 percent for the murder or rape cases previously studied.
The methodology used in the study consisted of survey responses from approximately 3,000 inmates in the Pennsylvania corrections system. If respondents claimed they were not guilty of the crimes charged, they were required to expand on the answer. Responses were then compared against administrative records in the inmate’s case for inconsistencies and plausibility.
Though there was a fear that most inmates would either not respond or respond untruthfully, the study team found this was not the case. The response percentage was considered high. In terms of the truthfulness of the responses, the researchers found that more than 90 percent of those responding took at least partial responsibility for the crime in which they were convicted. Researchers see this as a start point on the issue rather than the end point.
Many people believe that few if any innocent people are convicted of a crime. However, criminal defense attorneys know otherwise. Those charged should never assume that a prosecutor is on his or her side or that the criminal justice will be infallible in the case. A competent defense for the criminally accused is vital to a properly working criminal justice system.Read More