Philadelphia, PA Criminal Defense Lawyers for Parole Petitions
With few exceptions, Pennsylvania law requires that every jail sentence have a minimum and a maximum. For example, a defendant who is convicted of selling drugs in Philadelphia could receive a sentence of 11.5 – 23 months of incarceration in the Philadelphia Prison System followed by a period of probation. In that case, the minimum sentence would be 11.5 months in jail, and the maximum sentence would be 23 months. In any case in which the maximum sentence is less than two years, the defendant would be incarcerated in the county jail instead of in a State Prison. For cases with a maximum of two or more years, the defendant would serve the sentence in a State Correctional Institution. The procedures for obtaining parole differ tremendously for county sentences and state sentences, and we are often able to help clients who received county sentences obtain parole at their minimum date or even before.
Petitions for Parole
Our Philadelphia probation and parole lawyers have helped countless clients obtain parole at their minimum sentence or in some cases, even earlier. In most cases, the defendant must serve the minimum sentence before becoming eligible for parole. This means that in the above example, the defendant who was convicted of Possession with the Intent to Deliver would have to serve 11.5 months in custody before being released. However, whether or not the defendant will actually be released immediately at the minimum date depends on the sentencing order. If the sentencing judge orders that the defendant receive immediate parole at the minimum, then the defendant would be released as soon as the prison calculates that the defendant has completed the 11.5 month minimum sentence.
If the sentencing judge does not order immediate parole at the time of sentencing, then the defendant will not be automatically paroled at the minimum. Instead, the defendant should retain counsel to file a Parole Petition. In some cases, if the prison system thinks the defendant has done well while in custody, the Philadelphia Probation Department will file the parole petition on the defendant’s behalf. In other cases, the Probation Department will not automatically file the petition, and many people fall through the cracks if they do not retain counsel.
If the defendant was not granted immediate parole and the Probation Department does not file a parole petition (or the sentencing judge declines to rule on the petition or has denied it), we can help. Our criminal defense attorneys can file a parole petition with the defendant’s sentencing judge asking the judge to grant parole and release the defendant from the prison system. In order to increase the likelihood of a successful petition, we will investigate the client's background and speak with family and friends in order to highlight the reasons why the defendant should be paroled. For example, helpful factors in obtaining parole could include the following:
- Lack of a significant prior criminal record,
- Good behavior while in custody,
- Significant support from family and friends in the community,
- Participation in drug treatment and other programs while in custody and a documented plan for continuing or obtaining treatment once released, and,
- Work history and the prospects of employment in the community once released from custody.
Accordingly, our criminal defense lawyers will work to highlight the good things about the defendant and the good things that the defendant has done while in custody in order to show the sentencing judge that the defendant should be released. We will also work to schedule a hearing on the parole petition as quickly as possible. Even when the Probation Department files a parole petition on behalf of a inmate, the judge does not necessarily schedule a hearing or rule on the Petition. In that case, we can file our own petition and ask the Judge to schedule a hearing as soon as possible. We are often able to schedule hearings in Philadelphia within a week or two so that we can present the mitigation evidence to the judge and ask the judge to parole the client.
Petitions for Early Parole
In most cases, the sentencing judge expects the defendant to serve the minimum sentence before receiving parole. However, if the defendant receives a longer county sentence of 11.5 – 23 months, it may be possible to file a Petition for Early Parole once the defendant completes a portion of the minimum. If the defendant does not have any major infractions and we are able to arrange for treatment options or work opportunities upon release, we may be able to convince the sentencing judge to parole the defendant before the minimum sentence.
Under Pennsylvania law, judges in the Court of Common Pleas and Philadelphia Municipal Court retain the power to parole inmates who are in custody in the County prison system. Judges do not decide when an inmate in the state system receives parole, so we cannot file an Early Parole Petition for an inmate who is serving a state sentence. However, if you or your loved one are serving a county sentence, we can evaluate your case and whether there are strong enough reasons for the judge to let the client out early such that it would be worth filing a Petition for Early Parole.
Award-Winning Philadelphia Criminal Defense and Probation Lawyers
Our Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyers have successfully defended thousands of clients in criminal cases and probation matters. We have helped clients resolve violations of probation, get detainers lifted, and obtain parole at their minimum and in some cases before the minimum. We offer a free criminal defense strategy session to any potential client. Call 267-225-2545 today to speak with one of our award-winning defense attorneys.