If you are on county parole or probation, you must comply with the terms of your release from jail or prison. Failure to comply with the terms of your probation could result in your arrest and a request from your parole or probation officer for a detainer that will hold you in jail.
The judge who sentenced you, the judge supervising your probation, will determine whether you are held in custody because of a pending technical violation of your probation or until the outcome of a new criminal case for which you are charged. A judge can lift your detainer, getting rid of it.
You may face weeks or even months in jail until your next court date, which makes lifting the detainer an urgent matter. A criminal defense attorney from our firm can file a motion to begin the process of getting rid of your detainer.
What Is a Detainer?
Upon your arrest for a new criminal case, your county probation or parole officer may request a detainer, which means you would be held in jail. Typically, the detainer will keep you in jail until the courts resolve the charges against you.
When the police arrest you, you generally have the right to a reasonable bail amount. Posting bail secures your release from jail, allowing you to wait for your next court hearing as a free person. If you have a detainer for probation or parole, then you will not be released even if you post bail in your open matter. In fact, paying bail in your open matter would be a waste of money and could also complicate your time credit calculations later.
According to the Fifth Judicial District Court of Pennsylvania, the general rules of parole and probation include:
- You must allow your probation or parole officer to visit your home and place of work.
- You must regularly report to your probation or parole officer.
- You must comply with all local, state, and federal laws.
- You must notify your parole or probation officer if the police arrest you or issue a citation.
- You cannot possess a firearm or ammunition.
- You must comply with a search of yourself, your home, and your vehicle if there is reasonable suspicion that you have broken a law or the terms of your parole or probation.
- You must notify your probation or parole officer of a change of address.
- You may not travel outside Pennsylvania or internationally without written permission from your parole officer or the court.
- You may not possess illegal drugs and you must submit to drug and alcohol testing.
- You must pay fines and court fees.
- You must submit to identification procedures.
Any violation of these terms can result in your arrest.
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How Can You Lift a County Detainer?
Securing the lifting of a county detainer is challenging, and can only happen upon an order from a judge, according to 61 Pa. C.S.A § 6138. This will require you to file a motion in court to have the judge review your request for release.
We encourage you to seek legal representation and have your lawyer file the motion in court for you. Our criminal defense attorney understands how the detainer process works and we can file the motion and argue for your release.
The judge in your case will review the motion and consider multiple factors that could impact a final ruling, including:
- Whether you have a criminal history demonstrating that you don’t learn from your mistakes.
- The seriousness of your parole violation. Committing a felony violation decreases the likelihood of a ruling in your favor.
- Your ties to the community, including your employment, family, friends, and education.
- The strength of the evidence against you.
Once the judge weighs these considerations, a ruling will be made on your detainer. The judge could deny the motion, in which case you would remain in custody. The judge could also grant the motion, in which case you will be released, most likely on terms you must comply with, or you risk arrest and jail.
How Long do You Have to Wait to Get Rid of a Detainer?
Pennsylvania courts can be busy, so even if you file a motion to lift a detainer, it could take weeks or longer before the court schedules a hearing to consider it. Furthermore, the judge can also determine how long you must wait. Some judges want to handle cases quickly while others want to take their time.
You will know how long you must wait when the court schedules your hearing. Until then, your lawyer will continue working on your behalf by building your defense.
Are There Benefits to Getting Rid of a Detainer?
Remaining in custody on a detainer deprives you of your freedom, and it also prevents you from taking a more active role in your defense. Getting rid of a detainer benefits you because you can await trial from the comfort of your home and continue working to earn an income. The longer you remain in jail, the more likely it is that you lose your job and struggle to maintain relationships with family and friends.
The reason you were held in custody on a detainer is because of an alleged violation of your parole or probation. Perhaps the violation was minor, or it could be major. Either way, your lawyer must be able to build a defense strategy before your case goes to trial.
We must investigate the charges against you and the circumstances to determine the facts of your case. We must also gather evidence and find witnesses who can testify on your behalf.
Your assistance is valuable because you can help us identify witnesses and collect evidence. In addition, you will be available to communicate with your lawyer at any time.
Learn More About Getting Rid of a Detainer Today
The safest way to avoid being held in custody on a detainer is to comply with the terms of your parole or probation. If the police arrest you and you are held in jail in custody on a detainer, a criminal defense lawyer from the Law Offices of M.J. Snyder, LLC may be able to assist you by filing a motion to lift the detainer and present a defense in court on your behalf.
To learn more about lifting a detainer, or to talk to us about your case, please contact us today.