Probation and Parole are supervisory alternatives to incarceration. When a defendant is convicted of a crime, the court may grant them probation. Probation will typically involve certain terms, which are restrictions placed on a person that must be checked upon by a probation officer assigned by the court. Typical terms of probation may include maintaining a valid address, staying within state bounds, drug testing, and attending rehabilitation programs. In Northampton County, situations involving probation are managed by the Adult Probation Division of the Northampton County Court of Common Pleas, located in Easton, Pennsylvania.
Probation Violations in Northampton County
When a person violates the terms of their probation, they will face negative repercussions from the court. Consequences of probation violation can include starting the probation period from the beginning, or a denial of probation and placement into incarceration. When a person is accused of violating their probation, they will be granted a brief hearing process in order to defend themselves.
Gagnon I Hearings (Detainer) in Northampton County
The first step in the hearing process is known as a Gagnon I Hearing, or a Detainer Hearing. These hearings will settle two things: whether or not a defendant will be detained, and whether or not there is "probable cause" that they have violated the terms of their probation. These hearings are held and decided by a hearing officer rather than a judge, and it is up to the probation officer to present enough evidence to show probable cause. A defendant may have an attorney present at this stage to help their case.
Gagnon II Hearing (Violation of Probation/Parole) in Northampton County
The second step in the probationary hearing process is a Gagnon II Hearing, or a Violation of Probation/Parole Hearing; also known as a VOP hearing. These hearings are the final step in this process and will determine whether a person has violated their probation or not. A judge will preside over and decide upon these hearings, and a prosecutor will be responsible for presenting evidence against a defendant. While these may seem like criminal proceedings, there is one important difference: the standard of evidence used. In a criminal trial "beyond a reasonable doubt" must be used by the prosecutor, in a probation violation hearing the much lower standard of "a preponderance of evidence" will be used. A defendant's attorney may also represent them at a Gagnon II hearing.
Can a probation violation attorney help lift a detainer in Northampton County?
Lifting a detainer in Northampton County is not easy, but depending on the circumstances, may be possible. The position of the Northampton County Probation Department, as may be expected, will generally not help defendants facing alleged probation or parole violations in Easton, PA. For example, the defendant's probation officer will almost always recommend that the detainer remain "in place" at the Gagnon I hearing pending the Gagnon II VOP hearing; which would generally take place before the defendant's "back" judge (the judge who sentenced the defendant).
If the proper steps are taken and an aggressive defense is mounted, however, the likelihood of getting the detainer lifted at the detainer hearing in Easton will be greatly increased. In fact, in limited instances, it may even be possible to get the "back" judge to order lifting the detainer in advance of the detainer hearing itself - if the judge approves that the detainer be lifted in advance of the Gagnon I hearing in Easton, the question of whether the detainer would otherwise remain in place will not be at issue at the time of the hearing itself.
Probation in Northampton County, Pennsylvania
The Northampton County Adult Probation Department is located at 105 S Union Street, # 1, Easton, PA 18042.
Northampton County VOP Attorney | Easton Violation of Probation Attorney
Violations of probation and parole can increase a person's time spent under the supervision of the state. Probation is a very delicate situation, and a person may be found in violation through a very small amount of evidence against them. The services of a criminal defense attorney can be incredibly beneficial to a person's chances in court.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento worked as a probation officer while attending Temple University's Beasley School of Law at night, and he knows which defense strategies will work best when a client is facing a violation of probation or parole in Easton. Whether the violation is due to a new arrest, positive drug screen, failure to report, or any other factor, Joseph Lento knows how to approach the Northampton County Court, the judge, the Northampton County Prosecutor's Office, and the probation officer, and he is not satisfied until he gets his clients the best possible result. Joseph's experience both behind the scenes and on the front lines allows him to understand a client's probation violation from all angles, and allows him to find and employ the most effective strategies to get favorable outcomes for any client.