IF YOU ARE CHARGED WITH VIOLATING PROBATION IN LEMOYNE
If you are convicted of a crime in Pennsylvania, you may be sentenced to probation. If you are accused of violating your probation, the repercussions can be severe. You could be ordered to jail or prison. You will need the help of an experienced Lemoyne violation of probation attorney.
Depending on the nature of an alleged violation, the terms and conditions of your probation, and your previous criminal record, you could be returned to probation with more stringent terms and conditions, or you could be ordered to serve the remainder of your sentence in jail or prison.
Of course, if you’re found not guilty of violating probation, you’ll probably be allowed to continue your probation with the same conditions and terms. But you’ll need the right attorney’s help, because a violation of probation hearing is not like any other criminal proceeding.
HOW DOES PROBATION WORK IN PENNSYLVANIA?
Pennsylvania categorizes violations of probation as either “technical” or “substantive.” A technical violation of probation is any failure by a probationer to comply with the specific terms and conditions of probation imposed by the court.
Technical violations are more common than substantive violations. A substantive violation happens when a probationer breaks the law while on probation – any municipal ordinance or any local, state, or federal law.
A probationer who has been arrested, charged, or questioned by the police regarding any substantive or technical violation of probation must inform his or her probation officer within seventy-two hours.
WHAT ARE THE STANDARD TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF PROBATION?
While the terms and conditions of probation are somewhat personalized and may be slightly different for each probationer, these are the basic terms that apply to all probationers in Pennsylvania. Probationers in this state must:
- Find and hold a job or attend school.
- Submit to unannounced, unwarranted drug tests and searches.
- Avoid any criminal friends, associates, or acquaintances.
- Report regularly to a probation officer.
- Comply with all laws and avoid any new charge or arrest.
WHAT ARE “GAGNON” HEARINGS?
If a probationer violates probation with a substantive violation – that is, by committing another crime – the probation officer can arrest that probationer immediately.
If a probation officer arrests a probationer or informs the court of an alleged probation violation, a first hearing (called a “Gagnon One” hearing) will be scheduled to determine whether the probationer should be held in custody while awaiting a final probation violation hearing.
The name “Gagnon” refers to the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision which held that probation may only be revoked after a preliminary violation of probation hearing followed by a final violation of probation hearing.
WHAT CAN HAPPEN AT A FINAL VIOLATION OF PROBATION HEARING?
A final violation of probation hearing is called a Gagnon Two hearing, where a judge will consider the nature and severity of an alleged technical or substantive violation and whether the probationer has any prior violations of probation. The outcomes of a VOP hearing may include:
- a lengthier probation sentence
- a court order to perform community service
- court-ordered enrollment in counseling or a drug or alcohol rehab program
- a change to the terms of probation
- revocation of probation, meaning the probationer will serve the remainder of his or her sentence in prison or jail
WHAT MAKES PROBATION VIOLATION HEARINGS DIFFERENT?
Gagnon hearings differ from other criminal proceedings. Because a probationer has already been convicted “beyond a reasonable doubt” of a crime – and sentenced to probation – the burden of proof in a Gagnon Two hearing is a mere “preponderance” of the evidence.
This means that a probationer can be convicted of violating probation if it’s “more likely than not” that he or she is guilty – a considerably lower standard than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard needed for a criminal conviction.
Additionally at a Gagnon hearing, there is no right to be heard by a jury. The judge acts as both judge and jury at these hearings. Probationers, however, retain their right to an attorney, and that attorney has the right to call witnesses and to cross-examine the prosecution’s witnesses.
IF YOU ARE CHARGED WITH A VIOLATION OF PROBATION
If you are serving probation in Cumberland County, Dauphin County, or an adjacent jurisdiction, and if you are accused of violating that probation, get the legal help you need – at once – and contact Lemoyne violation of probation attorney R. Davis Younts.
After examining the details of the probation violation charge, attorney R. Davis Younts will craft an effective defense and fight hard for the justice you deserve. R. Davis Younts has been an attorney in Pennsylvania since 2002.
He has been a JAG (Judge Advocate General) and a number one-ranked Senior Defense Counsel in the U.S. Air Force. R. Davis Younts knows the system both as a prosecutor and as a defense lawyer, and he knows how to bring a violation of probation case to its best possible conclusion.
Contact attorney R. Davis Younts at (833) 739-5291 or (717) 612-4840. His offices are located at 26 North Ninth Street in Lemoyne. If you are accused of violating probation in Pennsylvania, you must have the right defense lawyer working on your behalf.