Tag Archives: DETAINER

How long will my baby’s father be locked up?

Q: If I call the cops on my baby father and he get locked up, but he is on parole will he do time even if it isn’t his fault? I got mad at him, called the cops and got him locked up for nothing. (Pittsburgh, PA)

A: If baby’s father was arrested, there is a good chance he was detained on a parole violation. Being detained means he will have to sit in jail until this new case with you as a victim is resolved. Once it is resolved, he will still sit in jail until the parole board or parole or probation judge schedules a detainer hearing. If the jurisdiction is with a county judge, meaning he is on probation with a judge, you may want to see if a criminal defense attorney can file a motion to lift detainer. This would allow him to be released from jail pending his probation violation hearing. The Public Defender does not handle petitions to life probation or parole detainers. This may take a while.

Do PD’s file motions to lift detainers?

Q: If I request for my public defender to file a motion to lift detainer and release to justice related services only, do they have to do so? I want to get my detainer lifted and be put in the care of justice related services. (Pittsburgh, PA)

A: Must your PD file a petition to lift detainer if you request him or her to do so? My understanding is that the Allegheny County PD does not do so because detainer work is not a critical stage of prosecution. It is considered extra, peripheral work and them being so overwhelmed with work to begin with, they do not touch detainers. Unless the PD has changed their policy. I was a PD many years ago and that was their policy back in the 90’s. You can hire a private criminal attorney to do so. The other thing you can do is write to JRS and request them to interview you. You can also request your counselor at the jail to contact JRS and facilitate the process.

Can I get my warrant changed to a summons?

Q: I just caught two felony counts of possession with intent to deliver. I’m on probation for robbery but no probation violation was filed. Is a summons a possibility or am I guaranteed arrest? (McKees Rocks, PA)

A: You really need to discuss this with the lawyer who is intimately familiar with your case. However, I can offer this. Yes, it is possible to turn the new active warrant into a summons. You will need to have your attorney bring you to a Common Pleas Court Motions Judge on the warrant and have it vacated and bail set. However, there is a problem with this. By the time you get to court, the probation warrant may have been filed. Once in court before the Motions Judge, you could be detained on the probation warrant and escorted to the Allegheny Iron Hilton. All your time incarcerated from that point will then count toward the probation violation, not your new case. You will not be able to make bond on the new case until either your probation violation judge conducts your probation violation hearing (which is held after your new case is disposed of, or your detainer is lifted. A detainer can be lifted through the process of your attorney filing a written motion and convincing your probation judge to let you back on the street even though you were arrested for a new felony drug case while on his or her probation for robbery. As they say, you are in a pickle. Save money for your attorney.

What can I do about a corrupt probation officer?

Q: My son was accused of theft and was sent to jail two weeks ago. His hearing was today. All charges dropped but when his attorney called his probation officer she told him that it could be days before he was released. She said he had to file a petition. The attorney said he never heard of that. My only had four days left on probation. This PO tried to have him put in jail 10 months ago when my son was on a ventilator fighting for his life. She said we were lying about it. He has complied with everything. (Elizabeth Twp., PA

A: No one likes their probation officer, and they are not always pleasant to those on probation nor the family of their subjects. If you have an attorney, have him or her file a petition to lift the detainer with the judge. The judge can release him forthwith, or schedule a hearing sooner than it will take if the PO schedules the violation hearing.

How to get DV charges dropped when I didn’t tell the whole story?

Q: My boyfriend and I were in a fight. I just lost a baby and found out he was cheating. I attacked him. He did not put his hands on me just detained me but I told police he did. He is on parole and is now in jail with a detainer.

A: These situations are complicated. Having charges dropped once they are filed is difficult but not impossible. You cannot just ask the police. The case will have to proceed to a preliminary hearing at which time you will be spoken to by the police, the DA and a victim/witness counselor. You will have the opportunity to speak with the victim/witness counselor and talk about this relationship and what you want to see happen. If there is no domestic violence history here, it may be possible for a withdrawal or a withdrawal after a continuance and domestic violence counseling. There is too much unknown her to advise with any certainty.


Q: I violated my parole in PA can I get out on bond?

A: It is hard to tell what you are asking without more information. I will assume you are on parole and not probation, as there is a difference. Normally, you will have a Gagnon I hearing to determine if you should be held in jail pending a final hearing on whether or not you violated your parole, which is called a Gagnon II. If you are under jurisdiction of the PA Board of Probation and Parole, generally, your penalty will be more harsh and predictable. If you are still under jurisdiction of the judge who sentenced you, you may, may, have more flexibility in having an attorney petition the judge for relief such as alternative housing or electronic home monitoring. There is no bond with probation or parole violations. The way to get out of jail is to have either the PA Board of Probation and Parole, or the judge who sentenced you, whichever has jurisdiction, to grant you relief. This is normally done by having an attorney file a petition requesting such relief. Generally, filing such a motion with the PABPP is not worth it.


Q: I violated my parole in Pa with a .02% breathalyzer, can I get out on bond? My original sentence was 6 months house arrest with a home breathalyzer box. I’ve had 2 DUIs in the past both 1st offenses. I have never violated before no new charges. I live in West Virginia my house arrest was sent down here. My parole officer had me sent back to PA, even though PA stated they did not want me and to try and file for a faster hearing to get in and out.

A: If you are on probation or parole you can be detained and forced to sit in jail if your probation officer has probable cause to suspect that you violated your probation. Normally, an alleged probation violator is given a Gagnon I hearing to determine if he should be held in jail further. If he or she is held in jail, the next hearing is a Gagnon II to determine if he or she actually violated the probation terms and conditions . There are two ways a person can be released prior to the Gagnon I or Gagnon II hearing.  The first is if the probation officer makes the request to the court, which is often not likely. Secondly, you can hire counsel to petition the judge to lift the detainer and he is successful in convincing the judge you should be released from jail. There is no bond on a probation violation. It is the probation detainer that holds you in jail. If the case is reviewed by an attorney, he or she can determine if it is worth filing a motion.