What Happens When You Are Charged with Violating Probation

What Happens When You Are Charged with Violating Probation

What to Expect if You Have Violated Your Probation

In Pennsylvania, if you have been convicted of a state crime, you can be sentenced to a period of probation, with specific rules governing your conduct, travel and other actions. If you violate the terms of your probation, you can face serious consequences. Here’s a summary of the legal process following a violation of probation.

You Are Arrested

Any known violation of your probation may be reported by your probation officer to the court. If the judge agrees that there has been a violation of parole, the judge can sign a warrant calling for your immediate arrest. The warrant will be delivered to local law enforcement officers, who will look for you to take you into custody. You can also turn yourself in.

If you are on probation for a minor matter, there is the possibility that you will be issued a summons, instead of being arrested. A summons simply requires that you show up on court on a specific date.

Your First Appearance in Court

After being arrested, you will be taken to court for a bond hearing. If the court allows a bond, you will be able to leave, if you post the bond. As a general rule, judges only allow bonds in situations where there was a technical, rather than a substantive, violation of probation.

Your Hearing

After your bond hearing, if bond is not allowed, you will remain in detention until your hearing. This could be as soon as two weeks or could take three months.
You do not have a right to a jury at the violation of probation hearing. Instead, a judge will listen to arguments from both sides and make a determination of how the case will be resolved. To prove its case, however, the state must show that your violation of probation was “willful and substantial,” and must do so by a preponderance of the evidence.

Sentencing

Judges have a lot of discretion in sentencing for probation violations. Among the sanctions you could face are:

  • Time served—the judge could rule that the time you’ve spent incarcerated waiting for your hearing was sufficient punishment
  • Reinstatement of probation—this means that you must complete your existing probation period
  • New probation sentence—the judge could add to your existing probation
  • Incarceration—you could face additional time behind bars

Contact the Law Offices of John E. Kusturiss, Jr.

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