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Pittsburgh Criminal Lawyer > > Criminal Defense > Do You Automatically Get A Prison Sentence If You Violate Your Probation?

Do You Automatically Get A Prison Sentence If You Violate Your Probation?


Some prosecutors, judges, defendants, and family members of defendants see probation as an alternative to mass incarceration.  While a probation sentence is a major improvement over spending an equivalent length of time behind bars, it is not a perfect solution.  Even though probation enables defendants to avoid interruptions to their employment, it is still costly for probationers and taxpayers alike, albeit much less costly than incarceration.  Worst of all, as long as you are on probation, you are always just a minor mistake away from being back in criminal court, even if your mistake would not be a crime if you had not been on probation.  Earlier this year, Pennsylvania enacted a new law designed to reduce the amount of time that each person spends on probation and to protect probationers from going back to jail for minor violations of the conditions of their probation.  If you are being accused of violating the terms of your probation, contact a Pittsburgh criminal defense lawyer.

Bench Warrants and Probation Violations in Pennsylvania

When you are on probation, the judge can set a unique set of conditions with which you must comply for the duration of your probation sentence.  Regular meetings with a probation officer are always one of the requirements, but the other conditions usually vary according to the circumstances of your original conviction.  For example, the court can order you to undergo regular or random drug testing or to avoid drinking alcohol.  You may need the court’s permission before you can change jobs or residences.  The court can even order you to live with your parents or to avoid certain friends for the duration of your probation sentence.  If you miss a probation appointment or violate any of the other terms of your probation, the court can issue a bench warrant for your arrest.

In the News

In March 2022, Troy Royster of Homewood received a probation sentence after pleading guilty to motor vehicle theft, aggravated assault, and flight to avoid prosecution.  Since he had been in jail until his sentencing hearing, the court sentenced him to time served plus three years of probation.  By October, the court had found out that Royster had violated terms of his probation on three occasions.  A judge issued three bench warrants for Royster’s arrest.  In March 2023, police arrested Royster, now 28, in downtown Pittsburgh.  The TribLive website did not indicate why five months passed between when a judge issued the bench warrants and when sheriff’s deputies were able to find Royster and arrest him.  It also did not indicate what the terms of Royster’s probation were and how he violated them.

Contact Gary E. Gerson About Probation Violations

A criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are serving a probation sentence for a criminal conviction and are being accused of violating the conditions of your probation.  Contact the law offices of Gary E. Gerson in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania about your case.




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