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Bucks County Adult Probation and Parole

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between probation and parole ?
Probation is a sentence allowing the offender to remain in the community under supervision. The courts have the right to re-sentence the offender if he/she violates the rules and regulations of their probation.

Parole is a conditional release from incarceration, not a release from legal custody, under a set Rules similar to probation. In Pennsylvania, an inmate must serve at least the minimum Sentence before being paroled.

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What is the difference between a County and a State sentence?
NOTE: DUI legislation taking effect in 2004 creates exceptions to the answer below. The exceptions are for only DUI arrests on or after February 1, 2004.
In Pennsylvania, a sentence of incarceration will normally have a minimum and a maximum length of time. In fact, the minimum cannot be more than ½ of the maximum sentence. This is why you will note that sentences are 1 to 2 years, 3 months to 23 months, 10 to 20 years, etc. In Pennsylvania, a State sentence is one in which the maximum sentence is 2 years or more. A County sentence of incarceration is one in which the maximum sentence is 2 years minus one day or less. For State sentences, the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole assumes responsibility for the case, determines when the inmate is to be paroled, and supervises the parole case through their state agents. In a County sentence, the sentencing judge determines parole and supervises the case through our department's parole officers.

Usually, a State sentence will be served in State Correctional Institution (Graterford, Camp Hill, etc.) and a County sentence will be served at the County Jail. However, the sentencing judge may choose to allow the offender to serve a sentence of up to a maximum of 5 years minus one day in the county jail even though it is a State Sentence.

Our Department supervises County jail sentences when they are paroled. We also supervise almost all of the persons placed on probation, without consideration of the length of the probation sentence.

If you need to contact a State Parole Agent that supervises a case in Bucks County, call the PA Board of Probation and Parole District Office out of Allentown at (610) 791-6157.

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How often will I be seen while I am on probation/parole?
Rule #1 of the Rules and Regulations states that a probationer/parolee will permit a PO to visit them at their home or place of employment. However a PO will generally try to schedule appointments around your work schedule.

This depends upon you, your history, your behavior, and several factors used in determining how often you are to be seen. Your PO will discuss this with you when they see you. They may see you as often as necessary to see that you are complying with the orders of the court and help you complete your probation or parole period successfully.

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If my PO is late for a scheduled appointment how long do I have to wait?
Generally, you are asked to wait a half-hour past your appointment time. A telephone call to the office after 15 minutes past the appointment time would be a good suggestion. Especially if you do not have a telephone number that the PO can reach you in case there has been an emergency for which the PO is unable to keep the scheduled appointment.

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If I am on probation or parole, can I live with someone else who is on probation/parole?
In general there is usually not a problem with someone living with a probationer/parolee, however the PO will review this on a case by case basis.

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Who do I call for Drug/Alcohol, Mental Health Evaluations?
Each officer has a list of agencies that are certified in various treatments. If it is a condition of your supervision or you want help, call your PO. Your PO will not only tell you whom to call, your PO will fax information to the treatment provider and make it very easy for you to comply with the court order, or get the help you want.

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Why do I have to submit urine samples for drug-testing?
As you know, there are two rules in General Supervision that address your concern. They are:

Rule #6: I am forbidden to use, posses or distribute Controlled Substances and/or dangerous drugs. I will abstain from excessive use of alcohol.

Rule #7: I will voluntarily submit urine, blood or breath tests as requested.

During your period of supervision you will probably be asked to submit a urine sample so that we can verify to the court that your are complying with Rule 6. It is not uncommon in many cases to require several urine samples during a period of supervision. If there are concerns about drug use, you may even be asked to give urine samples on a random basis.

It is also not uncommon to be asked to give a breath test to determine if there is alcohol present in your body.

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Why can't I leave the state without your permission? What if I want to go to the shore on a Saturday when your office is closed?
Our Department operates under a cooperative agreement with all States in the USA and many other countries. Travel outside of PA is not a right when you are under probation or parole supervision. In fact, you must get permission for your own protection. In some states, being there without a travel permit can result in a new felony arrest. There are also states and local municipalities that require you to report to the local police department before staying in their communities. Canada is a frequent tourist or business trip for many, or a stop on the way to Alaska. You are not permitted to enter Canada without prior permission-this includes landing and transferring to another airplane to another country. We have had clients arrested and detained in Canada, as well as one truck driver's truck impounded. If you give your PO a reasonable amount of time he/she may grant you a temporary/provisional travel permit where possible, but travel outside of the Commonwealth of PA must be planned well in advance and coordinated with your PO.

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Why am I being charged Administrative Fees?
Act 1991-35 states a probation administrative fee of at least $35 per month is to be imposed on all probation and/or parole sentences where the defendant is placed under the supervision of the Bucks County Adult Probation Dept. There are some exclusions that your PO can explain.

Please note that if you owe restitution and/or court costs, the restitution is collected/paid first. Court Costs and Fines are to be paid second. Your Supervision Fees are to be paid last.

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How can I find out who my son's Probation officer is, and how can I contact them?
Telephone the office nearest you and ask to speak to the officer who is supervising your son's case. Although your son's files are confidential, the fact that your son is on probation and who your son's probation officer is not confidential. The same is true if you are a victim calling to find out the status of restitution or other pertinent information.

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Administrative Office:
Central Bucks Unit:
55 East Court Street, 7th Floor
Bucks County Courthouse
Doylestown, PA 18901
Phone: (215) 348-6634
Fax: (215) 348-6691
 55 East Court Street, 7th Floor
Bucks County Courthouse
Doylestown, PA 18901
Phone: (215) 348-6102
Fax: (215) 348-6253
   
Lower Bucks Units:
Upper Bucks Unit:
600 Louis Drive, Suite 100
Warminster, PA  18974
Phone: (215) 444-2600
Fax: (215) 444-2602

261 California Drive, Suite 3
Government Services Center
Quakertown, PA 18951
Phone: (215) 529-7081
Fax: (215) 529-7138