When a person is granted probation, they are allowed to engage in day to day life in lieu of serving time in incarceration. Probation is typically granted with certain terms that the offender must adhere to, on the threat of imprisonment, should they not. Most probation servers must report to a probation officer. For anyone in Lancaster County, this officer is usually assigned at the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas, located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The Adult Probation and Parole Department has existed in Lancaster County since 1933 and has existed to supervise probationers since that time.
Probation Violations in Lancaster County
When a person violates the terms of their probation, their situation can become incredibly complicated. Probation is a delicate scenario, and even minor infractions can result in a defendant having to go to jail instead of remaining on probation, or the probation clock starting from the beginning of the original time period assigned. Fortunately, the law offers a few options for individuals who are accused of violating their probation in the form of hearings dedicated to these incidents.
Lancaster Detainer (Gagnon I) Hearings
If a probation officer reports you for a violation, you will have an opportunity to defend yourself against the claim. You may be taken into custody, but you may be released at a hearing known as a Gagnon I hearing. This hearing is sometimes referred to as a detainer hearing because it determines whether or not a person will have to be held in jail or custody until their final hearing. Gagnon I hearings will be held in front of a judge or hearing officer to determine whether or not a defendant may be allowed back on probation. During this hearing, a defendant can present their own witnesses, evidence, and arguments, against the case made by the probation officer. The probation officer will attempt to prove that "probable cause" exists to charge a defendant with a probation violation.
Lancaster Violation of Probation/Parole (Gagnon II) Hearings
A Gagnon II hearing, also known as a VOP hearing, is a final hearing to determine if a person's probation or parole has ben violated. This will be held in front of a judge appointed by the Lancaster Court of Common Pleas. While a violation of probation is a form of a crime, it will not be prosecuted by the standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt," instead, the much lower standard of "a preponderance of evidence" is used. This means that there is a significantly higher risk of the probationer or parolee being found in violation. This also means that they may face increased or additional sentencing.
Can a probation violation attorney help lift a detainer in Lancaster County?
Lifting a detainer in Lancaster County is not easy, but depending on the circumstances, may be possible. The position of the Lancaster County Probation Department, as may be expected, will generally not help defendants facing alleged probation or parole violations in Lancaster, PA. 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 Lancaster 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 Lancaster, 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 Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
The Lancaster County Adult Probation Department is located at 40 E. King Street, # 2, Lancaster, PA 17602.
Lancaster County VOP Attorney | Lancaster Violation of Probation Attorney
Hearings for violations of probation and parole in Lancaster are very serious matters that can cause a person to be found in violation very quickly. This can mean increased sentencing or starting a probationary period over from the beginning. An attorney is permitted at these hearings to help defendants against the opposing arguments. This is absolutely crucial to a person's defense. Defendants will face much more severe consequences at these hearings and an attorney can ensure a defendant stands the best possible chance.
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 Lancaster. 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 Lancaster County Court, the judge, the Lancaster 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.
If you or a loved one is currently facing charges of probation or parole violation in Lancaster or Lancaster County, PA, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.