A sentence of probation may seem like a slap on the wrist when compared to the alternative of jail time. However, probation can come with a slew of requirements that may potentially trip up even the most diligent of offenders. Keeping in mind the potentially severe penalties for a violation of probation (as discussed in my recent post Probation Revocations: When Paper Goes Up in Flames), it is of the utmost importance to be familiar with the requirements of your probation or parole.
The potential conditions attachable to an order of probation are governed by Pennsylvania Statute 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 9754. There are several potential conditions and obligations attachable. These include rules regarding where you can live, who you can live with, when you can leave the jurisdiction, curfew times for returning home, and ordering the offender to meet their family responsibilities. Probation may also have rules regarding your job, requiring you to maintain a specific job or order you to pursue a course of study or vocational training.
Offenders with substance abuse and/or mental health issues will be required to pursue treatment and be consistent in attending their counseling sessions, and will be subject to tests for the use of drugs and alcohol. Offenders may be forbidden from possessing firearms or other dangerous weapons (dangerous weapons including seemingly innocuous items such as slingshots or realistic looking fake guns). And finally, § 9754 c(13) has a catchall provision allowing the court to order “any other conditions reasonably related to the rehabilitation of the defendant and not unduly restrictive of his liberty or incompatible with his freedom of conscience”
It is the sole responsibility of the person on probation to be familiar with the terms and conditions of their probation. It is not a defense to accusations of a probation violation that the defendant was not aware of the condition of probation they are accused of violating. The Board of Probation and Parole may require you to sign a paper acknowledging the terms and conditions of probation.
Unreasonable and unduly restrictive probation requirements may be modified after a hearing. However, violations of these requirements prior to modification may still lead to a revocation.
With the high stakes involved, it is important that you know your rights and obligations while on probation. Attorney Frank Walker has experience working with probation officers, the State board, and prosecuting attorneys to ensure that the requirements of his clients probation is not unduly restrictive. Attorney Walker will personally advise clients as to their obligations while on probation. Don’t risk a potential revocation! Call Attorney Frank Walker for a consultation today! Our number is (412) 532-6805, lines are open 24/7!