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Freedom And Your Future

Our Philadelphia criminal lawyers have over 25 years
of combined legal practice – handling some of the
toughest cases in the country.

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SKA Law is a premier, Philadelphia criminal defense law firm, founded by professional criminal attorneys. We take on cases other law firms turn down, because we know how to fight – and when to negotiate. Our goal is to get you the best outcome possible. No fluff. No nonsense. Our focus is results.

Criminal Lawyers

Fewer Clients. Better Service And Results

SKA Law takes on fewer clients than other firms – it’s because we believe that taking on fewer clients means we can provide more service, and better results.

25 Years Of Legal Practice

Our firm has over 25 years of combined legal practice. Our Philadelphia criminal attorneys have been recognized by the top lawyer ranking services.

24/7 Customer Service

Our Philadelphia criminal attorneys are available 24/7- regardless of the holiday, or time of week. We are always available to help you.

Concierge Service

We take on fewer clients than other firms. Each client works 1:1 on with one of our senior attorneys.

Philadelphia Probation Lawyers

Probation is an alternative sentencing program that helps to free up bed space in the prisons for more serious cases. Probation is typically given for nonviolent offenses, first-time offenders, and even defendants with relatively clean criminal records.

At its heart, probation is essentially a contract between the convict and the Commonwealth for conditional release or avoiding entry into jail. People only go on probation after they have been convicted of a crime or plead guilty. In many cases, probation is one of the specified terms of a negotiated plea bargain.

Differences Between Technical and Substantive Violations

There are many hypertechnical aspects of probation that can lead to violations. You are required to report to your probation officer within 72 hours of any police contact. This can be something as insignificant as a being handed a parking ticket or something more serious, such as being questioned by police regarding a crime.

If you do commit a new violation of any other criminal law, this is a substantive violation that can lead to your entire probation term being converted into a prison sentence. Therefore, if you were sentenced to five years of probation, the judge has the discretion to resentence you to five years of prison if you violate. In the alternative, the judge can even lengthen the term of probation.

Technical violations can be anything defined by the court. They may require you to maintain a curfew, employment, and soberiety, and to pay off your court fines. Your probation officer may also require you to wear an ankle bracelet and to confine yourself to a certain area. You may also be restricted from having contact with the victim or co-defendants. In most cases, you cannot travel outside of the country or even the state without permission from your probation officer.

You also waive any rights to unlawful search and seizure when you enter into a probation agreement. This means that probation officers can enter your home at any time and check to ensure that you do not have any contraband; such as alcohol, drugs, or guns; and that you are not in violation of your curfew or other obligations.

Probation Hearings

You will have the right to plead your case and to representation by a probation violation attorney when you are brought into jail on a violation. These hearings are known as the Gagnon 1 and Gagnon 2 hearings.

The Gagnon 1 hearing must be held within 7 to 10 days from the report of the violation by the probation officer. At this hearing, the judge can decide whether or not the defendant should be freed from jail before the next hearing.

The probation officer is required to also establish a prima facie case that demonstrates that a violation occurred. This is typically established by the testimony of the probation officer if the violation is technical in nature or records of a new offense if the violation is substantive.

Nevertheless, a prima facie case is their narrative of the events, which can be disproven by factual evidence if it is incorrect. For example, if the probation officer claims that you were not home during your curfew, you may be able to offer evidence that you were home that is stronger than the testimony and clear up any misconceptions.

However, the Gagnon 1 hearing is similar to an arraignment, which formalizes the nature and cause of the violation and detention. The Gagnon 2 hearing is the final hearing where the testimony or evidence of the probation officer can be challenged.

At the Gagnon 2, the burden is on the prosecutor to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that a violation occurred. This is where your violation attorney can present evidence against the prosecutor and argue for leniency on your behalf.

Because probation is best suited for nonviolent drug offenses, many of the technical violations are related to failing drug tests or being out after curfew. Violations can also occur, however, when a relative or friend that you share living space with has beer or guns in the house.

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Testimonials

"I found Michael Kotik via the internet with the hope by someone to help my son in what we thought was something routine. Long story short after being mislead by the prior firm and received no results and my son sat for 18 months in prison because "no one knew what was going on" Michael was able to not only..."
~ Michelle Doria
"I had a pleasure of dealing with Mike on couple of occasions. He is an amazing attorney. He always came through and did what was promised. Also he went above and beyond to assist with any request. He is definitely a fighter and will do what is needed to come out with the best outcome"
~ Ella Shapiro

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Philadelphia

1518 Walnut Street st 808, Philadelphia, PA 19102

(267)-265-4553

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Philadelphia

1518 Walnut Street st 808, Philadelphia, PA 19102

800-646-6048

Get Directions

Philadelphia

1518 Walnut Street st 808, Philadelphia, PA 19102

800-646-6048

Get Directions

Philadelphia

1518 Walnut Street st 808, Philadelphia, PA 19102

800-646-6048

Get Directions