In the Pennsylvania criminal justice system, the term “probation” is generally defined as an alternative to imprisonment that allows an individual who has been convicted of—or pled guilty to—a criminal offense to remain in the community, usually under specific conditions and under the supervision of a local probation officer. This is different than “parole,” which is generally defined as the supervised, conditional release of a prisoner before the expiration of the individual’s sentence.
In the federal criminal justice system, the term “probation” generally applies to the period after incarceration when a released prisoner is under the supervision of a federal probation officer. Although the federal system does not use the term “parole,” it also allows for the supervised, conditional release of a prisoner before the expiration of the individual’s sentence via an “early release” system.
There are general rules that apply to anyone who is on state probation in Pennsylvania or on federal probation. In addition, there are often additional rules that apply to each individual probationer’s case.
During a probationer’s first meeting with a probation officer, all of the terms and conditions governing the individual’s probation will be reviewed—and any questions the probationer may have will be answered. Thereafter, the probationer is required to sign a form to indicate that they understand all the conditions that will apply to their probation.
Any violation of a condition of probation can result in additional constraints being placed on the probationer’s freedoms, an assignment to an appropriate treatment program, or incarceration. In general, the severity of the penalty will depend on the nature of—and frequency of—the violation.
Anyone who has violated any of the applicable terms and conditions of their probation should consult with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who has experience in dealing with similar situations. Doing so may allow the attorney to resolve the problem without the imposition of any additional penalties—or to reduce the penalties that would otherwise be imposed.
If you have been charged with violating your probation—or you are concerned that you might be charged with doing so—call the Skinner Law Firm today at 610-436-1410 for a free consultation or send us an email through our online contact form. Let us help you resolve this matter before it becomes a major problem.