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Probation Violations and Gagnon Hearings - Pennsylvania


If you have been arrested for a probation violation, the authorities are required to follow due process if they are seeking to revoke your probation. According to the highest law of the land, you are guaranteed two specific hearings before any type of parole revocation may take place. The first of these hearings, referred to as a Gagnon I Hearing, is a preliminary hearing, while the Gagnon II Hearing is a final ruling.

Preliminary Gagnon Hearing on Probation Violation Charges

In Pennsylvania, the preliminary hearing, the Gagnon 1, must be held within seven to 10 days of your detention on an alleged probation violation. At the Gagnon 1 probation violation preliminary hearing, it is decided whether you must remain in prison custody while waiting to either see the judge or have a full and final hearing with the judge. A Philadelphia criminal defense attorney can represent your interests at both of these hearings.

Both the trial commissioner and the judge have the power to release you from custody at the Gagnon 1 hearing. If, however, it is decided that you must stay in prison until your full hearing (Gagnon II hearing) relating to an alleged probation violation, then you will remain in detention until the actual hearing. At this final hearing, you will appear before the judge, who determines whether you are in violation of your probation.

You can receive a probation violation for any number of issues, including:

  • Technical violation, such as not passing a drug urine test or failure to report to your probation officer
  • Direct violation, which would mean commission of an unlawful act or conviction in a new criminal case

Your Rights to Gagnon Hearings Guaranteed by U.S. Supreme Court

Your rights to these hearings are guaranteed as a result of the case Gagnon v. Scarpelli, a 1973 U.S. Supreme Court Case, in which Gerald Scarpelli's probation was revoked, but it became apparent that his confession was obtained under duress. Thus, it was determined that a probation may be revoked only after both a preliminary and a final revocation hearing.

Accused of Probation Violation - Make Sure to Have an Attorney at Your Hearings!

Having an experienced criminal defense attorney present to protect your rights at every stage of the violation of probation or violation of parole (VOP) process. Having a skilled attorney by your side at a violation hearing may mean the difference between incarceration and continued probation or parole. To find out more about how an attorney at the criminal defense law firm of Parkinson, Tarpey Law can stand up for your rights, call to schedule a free initial consultation at (215) 352-3432​.

We defend clients facing VOP proceedings throughout Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery, and Delaware Counties. Our lawyers focus on criminal defense and have more than 40 years of combined experience.