Our Lehigh Valley Probation and Parole Violation Attorneys represents defendants in both Gagnon I and Gagnon II hearings. In many cases the consequences of a parole or probation violation can be more serious that the original conviction for the underlying charge.
Historically probation violations often resulted in sentences far outweighing the sentence originally imposed in any given case. Fortunately there have been a number of recent changes to the law that have substantially limited the discretion of courts to impose overly harsh sentences for violations of a parole and probation. New re-sentencing guidelines came in to effect in 2021 which are much more favorable to the accused. Additionally, a parolee on a split sentence can no longer be resentenced under the probationary term of his or her sentence before it has begun.
Our criminal defense attorneys stay abreast of all the nuanced legal changes and have successfully represent many individuals accused of violating probation and parole. Contact our office today for a consultation for you or your loved one.
A Gagnon I hearing is essentially a probable cause hearing. A Judge, or an official appointed by a Judge, presides over the hearing to determine if there is enough evidence for the alleged violation to proceed to the next step, a Gagnon II hearing. While a Gagnon I hearing may lead to detention or incarceration, pending a Gagnon II hearing, there is no factual finding nor resentencing conducted at this level.
At a Gagnon II hearing a Judge must make a determination as to whether the accused willfully violation the terms of his or her supervision and, if so, must resentence or recommit the defendant. Sentences for violations can range from “strict compliance” (essentially a warning), to restarting probation, to a term of incarceration longer than the original term of a probation imposed.
A defendant being held on a probation violation is entitled to bail whereas a defendant being held on a parole violation is not entitled to bail. In practice Lehigh County often honors a defendant’s right to bail and Northampton County often makes bailing out much more difficult. Our attorneys have achieved bail for our clients in both Lehigh and Northampton Counties.