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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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Where do I get a drug/alcohol or mental health evaluation?

Each officer has a list of agencies that are certified in various treatments and can make a referral for you. You can also visit https://www.bcdac.org/Info%20and%20Resources/Resources%20for%20Residents_Community_rev%204.9.20.pdf for a list of licensed Drug and Alcohol providers in Bucks County or   http://www.buckscounty.org/government/HumanServices/MHDP for Mental Health services.

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Why do I have to be drug tested?

There are two rules in General Supervision that address your concern. They are:

Rule #6: I am forbidden to use, possess or distribute non-prescribed Controlled Substances and/or mind altering substances. I will abstain from the excessive use of alcohol.

Rule #7: I will submit urine, blood, saliva, breath and/or other specimens required for departmentally approved substance abuse detection tests.

During your period of supervision you will probably be drug tested so that we can verify to the court that you are complying with Rule 6. It is not uncommon to have random and frequent drug tests while you are on probation or parole supervision or to be asked to give a breath test to determine if there is alcohol present in your body.

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How do I get a Travel Permit?

While on supervision, the ability to travel is a privilege and reserved for individuals who are in compliance with supervision and meet the appropriate criteria.  That criteria varies based on the nature of the travel and can be reviewed by your supervising Officer.  All overnight travel as well as travel outside of Bucks County should be reviewed with your supervising Officer in order to determine eligibility, criteria and guidelines.  You should discuss your wish to travel with your Officer in advance of your desired travel date in order to ensure that you are approved, can produce any necessary documentation and receive a travel permission form if it is required.  Failure to plan ahead (for non-emergency situations) or meet the necessary expectations will result in your travel approval being denied.

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Why am I being charged Supervision Fees?

Act 1991-35 states a probation supervision fee 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 Department.   Per the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, the local supervision fee is $40 per month.

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How can I find out someone's Probation Officer? 

You can call any of our office locations and ask who the Probation Officer is for a particular person.  Although that person’s records are confidential, the fact that they are on probation or parole and who the assigned PO is are 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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How do I report my change of address?

All address changes must be coordinated and approved by your Probation/Parole Officer in advance.  Failure to report a change of address to your P.O. is a technical violation and could result in a warrant being issued for your arrest if you cannot be located.

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What do I do if I have a warrant?

Please contact our department at 215-348-6640 during normal business hours and ask to speak to the Probation Officer handling warrants for the day.  You can also report in person to the Justice Center and either go to the Public Defender’s office or the Adult Probation Intake office.

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If I am placed on probation/parole in Bucks County but want to reside in another county or state, will my case be transferred? 

As part of a probation/parole plan, an offender may desire to establish residence or return to his/her residence in another county within the Commonwealth or another State. If you meet the criteria, courtesy supervision can be requested from the county in which you live. For those offenders desiring to live in another State, courtesy supervision shall be requested through a formal arrangement between States called the Interstate Compact Agreement. All offenders whose cases are transferred to another county or State for supervision should be informed that, although actual supervision of their case is transferred to another agency, jurisdiction of their case remains with Bucks County. All payments for court financial obligations, including restitution, are to be made to the Bucks County Clerk of Courts - Criminal Division. Be aware that any violations of probation or parole must ultimately be resolved by the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas.

It should be noted that conditions for transferring cases to other jurisdictions change regularly, that some jurisdictions will not allow certain offenders into their State, and that reporting requirements frequently change. In some States, certain offenders are not allowed to visit or live in their jurisdiction without permission, and being there without permission will result in a new offense.

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If my case is transferred from Bucks County to another county or state, where will I pay my court costs/fines and fees? 

Restitution, court costs/fines and supervision fees are paid to the Bucks County Clerk of Courts - Criminal Division.

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If my case is transferred to another county or state, will I have to pay supervision fees to both Bucks County and the jurisdiction that my case is transferred to?

You will only be responsible to pay supervision fees to the jurisdiction in which your case is being supervised.

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If I am placed on probation/parole in another state, but live in Bucks County, will my supervision be transferred to Bucks County?

Probation /Parole cases from states outside Pennsylvania are processed by and if appropriate, supervised by the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole. If you reside in Bucks County and are convicted in another state, your case may be transferred to the:

Pennsylvania Board of Probation/Parole 
1101 S. Front St. 
Harrisburg, PA 17104-2538, 
717-787-5699, ext.315

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How do I make GPS payments?

GPS payments are accepted at any of the Adult Probation office locations in the form of cash or money order only.  It’s important that these payments are made on time in order to stay compliant with your electronic monitoring.

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What do I do if I have problems with the Monitor Connect telephone reporting system?

The fastest way to contact Monitor Connect support staff is an email to support@monitorconnect.com and briefly describe your issue. Remember to include your name and telephone number.

You can also speak to someone Monday through Sunday by calling 1-800-788-9157 and listen to the prompts. There are options for English and Spanish.

Please note that if your number is not working, you may not be enrolled yet by the Adult Probation Department. Please try again later in the week or next week.  If the issue is voice recognition, please move to a quiet location and try again.  Please remember that you must make a payment before you are able to report in. If you are unable to pay, please contact your probation officer to discuss options.

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How do I fulfill my community service requirement if I have an ARD case?

The District Attorney’s office does not accept online community service. You must find a nonprofit organization within the community in order to volunteer your time.  Examples include: the SPCA, thrift store, fire department, church or other faith based organization, local library, recreational centers such as the YMCA, a nature center, Parks and Recreation or a senior center.  If you are considering a site, but not sure if it is approved, please call 215-529-7081 for verification.

If you need to speak to the ARD unit about community service, letters or certificates of completion and ARD financial obligations, please call 215-348-6344.

If you have completed your community service requirement, please send proof of completion to Bucks County Adult Probation Department at 261 California Road, Suite 3, Quakertown PA 18951 or you can fax it to 215-529-7138.

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Administrative Office:    Central Bucks Unit:    Justice Center: Intake 
30 East Court Street
2nd Floor
Doylestown, PA 18901
Phone: (215) 348-6634
Fax: (267) 885-1316 
  30 East Court Street
2nd Floor
Doylestown, PA 18901
Phone: (215) 348-6634
Fax: (267) 885-1316
  100 N. Main Street 
1st Floor
Doylestown, PA 18901
Phone: (215) 348-6634
Fax: (267) 885-1316
         
Lower Bucks Unit:    Upper Bucks Unit:     
7203 New Falls Road
Levittown, PA 19055
Phone: (215) 444-2600
Fax: (215) 348-5296
  261 California Drive 
Suite 3 - UBGSC
Quakertown, PA 18951
Phone: (215) 529-7081
Fax: (215) 529-7138