Anyone convicted of a crime in Pennsylvania may face serious consequences for the illegal activity. Not all offenders are violent, and some may have a clean record. So, probation becomes an alternative to jail time. However, the Keystone State’s criminal justice system is imperfect, and someone on probation may get caught in a troubling cycle.
Issues with probation in Pennsylvania
Probation serves as a form of supervised behavior that keeps a guilty person out of jail. A defendant may face one year of probation instead of one year in prison, a preferable outcome. The court system won’t merely “let the person go free.” Instead, probation involves meeting specific requirements, such as avoiding another arrest and remaining drug-free. Those who violate their probation terms could serve their remaining time in prison.
Unfortunately, state law could confuse a person currently on probation. Consider the previous point about remaining drug-free. While Philadelphia decriminalized casual marijuana use, someone on probation could end up in jail for using marijuana in Philadelphia.
Understanding the rules of probation
Anyone wishing to avoid further legal troubles while on probation must avoid violating the terms. Some rules are obvious, such as not committing any additional crimes. However, other terms may be unclear to the defendant. Asking counsel to explain things in an easy-to-understand manner might prevent a regrettable outcome from any probation and parole violations.
When the accused appears before the judge to address probation violations, the defendant may provide proof that the situation was a misunderstanding. The defendant still has rights and could offer evidence countering the state’s claims. A successful defense could keep the person out of jail.