No matter what the underlying reason, being charged with a new offense while on probation only adds to the trouble. A 58-year-old State College podiatrist was just deemed a danger to the public after violating her Clearfield County probation by driving drunk in Centre County.
The podiatrist was on probation for assaulting a police officer in June 2016 at Penn Highlands Clearfield hospital. According to an affidavit in the probation violation case, a Clearfield Borough officer was trying to calm her down but she threw a cup of water at him and attempted to exit the room. When he blocked her, she pushed him several times. Then, she said he ought to handcuff her, which he did. He then seated her on a hospital bed and she kicked him -- in the groin.
During her probation for that incident, the podiatrist was apparently charged with DUI twice in Centre County. Those drunk driving arrests were on top of a previous Clearfield County DUI.
She pled guilty to three DUI charges in February in Centre County, according to the Centre Daily Times. She was sentenced to between six months and five years in jail, plus 18 months' probation.
Recently, the podiatrist was back in Clearfield County Court to answer for violating her probation from the assault incident.
Her lawyer said that she had been suffering from depression and was drinking as a form of self-medication. He also said she has attended rehabilitation. He hoped these mitigating circumstances would convince the court to be lenient.
They did not. "This lady is clearly a danger to the public," said the judge. He added that if he had been the Centre County judge who sentenced her for the DUI charges, he would have sent her to state prison, not jail.
He sentenced her to between six months and a year in jail for the probation violation, along with a year of probation. Both the jail term and the probation will run consecutive to the DUI sentences.
Lots of people on probation make mistakes, and often this is due to substance abuse. For many people, substance abuse is a way of dealing with mental illness or other problems. Unfortunately for substance abusers, probation terms frequently require the probationer to completely avoid drugs and alcohol. Moreover, probation always requires staying out of further legal trouble.
If you are placed on probation, make sure you understand and can comply with the terms. If you make a mistake, it's a good idea to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and put your best case forward.