What are the Types of Probation in PA?
When you’re convicted of a crime, probation is commonly part of the sentence. But the terms of probation are not one-size-fits all. And with the punishments for breaking probation being so severe in Pennsylvania, it’s crucial to have the most experienced Philadelphia criminal defense attorney helping you understand the specific conditions of your probation.
If you read our blog on probation violations, then you know that a probation sentence allows an offender to remain in the community under the state’s watch to ensure that the law and all the conditions of the sentence are met. While often available to first-time, nonviolent offenders, the types of Philadelphia probation vary based on the person’s background and the specific circumstances of the crime. Here’s a closer look at each type of probation placed on offenders in Pennsylvania.
- Informal Probation
Also known as unsupervised probation or court, this type of probation is available to low-risk offenders, and typically require you to simply pay your fines and not commit any violations of the law during the probation period. The judge will often order a suspended jail sentence as well, which you can avoid as long as you pay your fines and avoid any violations during your probation.
- Supervised Probation
When an offender is placed on supervised probation (or formal probation), they are required to periodically report to a probation officer- from weekly visits or monthly phone calls- while also following typically stricter conditions established by the court. Other provisions may include drug testing, counseling, community service and more, depending on the crime. If you fail to do so, you can be sent to jail almost immediately.
- Community Control
If you’re placed on community control, you’re essentially on a jail sentence without the prison. As the strictest form of probation, you’ll be monitored at all times, typically through the GPS of an ankle tracker while on house arrest. In this situation, the offender is not permitted to leave their home, while required to also meet any other specific requirements of their probation.
- Shock Probation
Shock probation came into prominence in the late 1990’s. First, offenders will be required to serve a short jail or prison sentence, typically around 30 days. This tactic to “shock” the offender into compliance with the probation terms. Upon being released, the judge will bring you back into the court to be placed on a standard supervised probation program for the remainder of your sentence.
- Intensive Supervision
Intensive supervision probation (or IPS), as the name suggests is a highly structured program involving rigorous supervision. Similar to house arrest, the offender must comply to the strict terms of their probation, but are not required to stay at home. Their sentence will typically involve at least 8-12 meetings with their probation officer each month, as well as face-to-face and telephone contact at all hours of the day, 7 days a week.
With the different types of probation in Pennsylvania with various conditions that can alter your entire lifestyle, it’s especially important to consult Philadelphia’s best criminal defense lawyers in regards to your specific situation. Our attorneys can help you understand all the terms of your probation and help you preserve your rights, so contact us today.