Probation and Parole issues can be extremely technical however in order to begin to understand the process it is necessary to understand basic sentencing law in Pennsylvania. All sentences in Pennsylvania, except of course in the case of a life sentence, are declared as a minimum and maximum number of years or months. Furthermore, the minimum number can never be more than one-half of the maximum number. For example, a sentence of 2 to 4 years would be a proper sentence. A sentence of 3 to 4 years would be an illegal sentence. Sentences where the maximum sentence is less than two years such as 11 ½ to 23 months, are considered to be county sentences while sentences where the maximum is greater than two years are state sentences. This is an important distinction because in the case of a county sentence, the sentencing Judge maintains jurisdiction over the sentence and retains the power to grant parole for the entire time of the sentence. In the case of state sentence however, the sentencing judge loses jurisdiction to change the sentence thirty days after the sentence is imposed. Thereafter the power to grant parole vests with the State Board of Probation and Parole. The Parole Board, as it is known is an arm of the executive branch of State Government or the Governor.
After conviction for a crime, a defendant can be sentenced to probation or to a sentence of incarceration to be followed by a period of probation. Here again, important considerations come in to play. For example, if a defendant is convicted of a Felony of the second degree, he faces a maximum statutory sentence of 3 ½ to 7 years. Assume however that the Judge imposes a sentence of only 1 to 2 years to be followed by 5 years probation. This defendant becomes eligible for parole at the expiration of 1 year. Because this is a state sentence, his parole is under the supervision of the Parole Board. If while he is on parole he commits a violation of his parole, the Parole Board may re-commit him and will determine how much additional time he should serve in prison which could be up to the maximum of the sentence which is 2 years. Furthermore he may lose credit for the time he was paroled, “street time”. In the case of a defendant who violates while serving the probationary portion of his sentence, he may be in a much more serious position because in the case of a probation violation, the defendant can be sentenced to the maximum sentence called for, in our example 7 years. In the case of a County sentence, it is possible to be granted parole prior to the expiration of the minimum sentence. We at the law Offices of Perry de Marco, Sr., routinely file petitions for early parole on behalf of our clients in appropriate cases. Probation and Parole issues must be handled very carefully. If you are require representation for a Probation or Parole violation you owe it to yourself to have an experienced lawyer represent you in court.
Contact the Law Offices of Perry de Marco, Sr. Please keep in mind that we do not charge for the initial consultation.