Probation Reform in PA: SB-14

Pennsylvania Probation and Parole Reform – SB-14 

Will the New Probation Reform Laws in PA Shorten Your Probation Term?

If you or a loved one were put on probation or are facing a lengthy probation or parole period, you may be wondering about the new Pennsylvania Probation Reform SB-14 bill currently being considered in the Pennsylvania State Senate.

This bill could significantly lesson your probation / parole term or end your current sentence early if you are in prison for a violation of probation. Read a summary of the bill from FAMM (Families against Mandatory Minimums).

Nearly 300,000 Pennsylvanians are on parole or probation, making Pennsylvania the second highest percentage of citizens on probation and parole of all 50 states in the U.S.

People on probation are at-risk of imprisonment if they are found in violation of probation/parole, including minor technical violations or the inability to pay fines or restitution.

The current cycle of probation / prison traps people in a constant state of government supervision and a loss of freedom and rights. People are often incarcerated for behavior that would not be a crime if they were not on probation.

If you or your loved one is wondering what can be done to have your parole or probation shortened, or your detainer lifted, please contact Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney Wana Saadzoi.


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WHAT IS SB-14?

Senate Bill 14 is an act to amend Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. 

This bill will update the current probation policies in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The purpose is to “reduce the amount of time and resources devoted to probationers who have completed sentences for past crimes while allowing them to fully re-integrate back into society.”

A person’s current probation terms can be much longer than their original sentence intended. Even a minor violation of probation or parole can result in being sent back to prison. These prolonged terms of probation can result from technical violations from minor traffic offenses to traveling out of state.

Many states have already adopted limits on probation and parole terms so that people are rehabilitated rather than repeatedly punished for their original crime.

Read more from the Pennsylvania General Assembly.


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WHO THE PENNSYLVANIA SB-14 BILL WILL HELP AFTER ENACTMENT

When enacted, SB-14 will limit the time Pennsylvanians can be sentenced to probation, limit incarceration time following a probation violation, and require the probation period to end early after a certain period with no violations.

When passed, PA SB-14 will help:

  • People who are being sentenced to probation after the bill becomes law;
  • People who are already on probation after the bill becomes law;
  • People who are currently incarcerated and serving more than one year in prison for an administration violation of probation, and;
  • Certain offenders incarcerated due to revocation of probation.

Certain criteria may apply, but people can petition the court for resentencing.

Read more from the ACLU of about Parole and Probation Reform in Pennsylvania.

WHAT THE PA SB-14 BILL INCLUDES

The PA SB-14 bill includes many changes that will limit probation sentences, end a person’s sentence early if there have been no violations, shorten sentencing for probation violations (if no new crimes have been committed), and, shorten sentences or release people currently incarcerated for probation violations.

When enacted, Pennsylvania Senate Bill 14 will:

  • Cap probation terms for felonies at 5 years;
  • Cap probation terms for misdemeanors at 3 years;
  • Require early termination of supervised probation after a person has served 18 months of probation without violation or revocation;
  • Eliminate “stacked sentences” (sentencing a person to consecutive terms of probation);
  • Eliminate “split sentences” (sentencing a person to a period of probation following incarceration/parole);
  • Ban courts from extending probation terms because a person failed to pay a fine, cost, or restitution if the person is not financially able to pay;
  • Instruct courts on when they can send people to prison for probation revocations:
    • For those whose probation was revoked for an administrative violation, return to prison is capped at 30 days.
    • For those convicted of a new misdemeanor offense, return to prison is capped at 60 days.
    • For those convicted of a new felony offense, courts may use alternatives to incarceration that were available at the time of the original sentencing.
    • For people whose probation is revoked for a technical or administrative violation of probation, and whose conduct indicates they are likely to commit a future crime and if no other condition of supervision or treatment will decrease the likelihood of future crime, then a judge may incarcerate someone for up to 30 days.
  • Retroactive application: The bill would allow people whose probation was revoked and who received a prison sentence of more than one year to petition the court for resentencing according to the new rules if:
    • The revocation and sentence of imprisonment were for an administrative violation of probation;
    • The person has had no disciplinary infractions while in prison; ○ The person has had no new criminal charges or convictions while on probation; and
    • The person may only petition for such a re-sentencing once, unless new conditions arise for a second petition later on. 

Read the FAMM PA SB-14 Bill Summary.


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HOW CAN A CRIMINAL LAWYER HELP?

Everyone makes mistakes and we know that. But we also believe people deserve a second chance and being forced to serve a lengthy probation sentence can hinder a true second chance from ever happening.

That is why we will do what it takes to help get your probation sentence reduced. We want you to succeed in life and we know you can, but if you constantly are worried about being sent back to prison and you don’t have the same rights as everyone else, it makes it more of a challenge.

Saadzoi Law works with our clients to fully understand their case and file the motions and petitions needed and for the best chance of court approval.

If you are facing new charges or are in violation of parole / probation, Saadzoi Law can help you get your detainer lifted and prepare for the detainer hearing. There are many options that judges may consider in lieu of more jail time, including drug treatment programs and house arrest. An aggressive and convincing attorney can help the judge lean in your favor.

If you or your loved one is wondering about options to have your parole or probation shortened, please contact Pennsylvania Criminal Attorney Wana Saadzoi. She is experienced and aggressive when it comes to fighting for your rights and freedom.

Attorney Saadzoi has spent time on both sides of the law as a prosecutor and a public defender. As your lawyer, she will work aggressively to have your sentence reduced or charges dropped.

She works with clients accused or convicted of all types of crimes, including DUI charges, Drug charges, Theft and Sex Crimes.

Protect Your Rights. Call 610-566-5956 today. Spanish translation services are available and credit cards are accepted.


Get Aggressive Representation
Call Today for a Free Legal Case Evaluation

Pennsylvania Criminal Lawyer

Call Attorney Saadzoi Today
610-566-5956


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