Parole and Probation Violations

Parole and Probation Violations

Parole and probation violations refer to suspected bad acts by a person while supervised by a criminal justice agency. Whereas, probation happens after a person’s release from custody, onto supervision upon an agreement to comply with agency rules. Parole occurs after an inmate’s release, but before completing their sentence, they agree to behave and follow agency rules. Courts usually define parole and probation violations as either direct or technical. A direct violation occurs after a court sentences a person, while on parole and/or probation, for a new crime. While, a technical violation occurs after a court finds a person violated the rules for their parole and/or probation.

In many states, an agent from a local office oversees persons on supervision, and limits their travel to a specific area. Persons on parole and probation must remain in contact and regularly see their case agent. Also, supervised persons must request written permission if they need or want to move and/or work in another locale. Since, technical violations comprise the majority of parole and probation violations, most cases do not involve criminal acts. Overall, the most frequent parole and probation violations include failing to: obtain a job, make an office visit, go to school, missing curfew, and/or positive drug tests. While, the most repeatedly committed technical violation was failing to report as scheduled for an office visit with an agent. Further, case agents ensure each person under supervision complies with paying all scheduled court, fines, and restitution costs.

The Process During Parole and Probation Violations

When accused of supervision violations, the case agents either issue a warning or send the matter to the court of common pleas. Many constitutional rights including due process, equal protection, and access to an attorney apply for revocation proceedings. This means most persons on supervision do not receive immediate imprisonment or any other penalty. A series of Gagnon hearings are held to determine if an offense occurred and any resulting penalty. A Gagnon I violation hearing occurs before a judge whereby the case agent shows probable cause for the charged offense. The accused can present evidence and witnesses at this Gagnon I hearing. If the court finds probable cause exists for the charged offense the case proceeds to a Gagnon II hearing. During a Gagnon II hearing, the judge determines if the person violated the terms for probation and/or parole. Laws give judges great discretion during a violation hearing.

In Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Washington D.C., North Dakota, Colorado, New York, Florida, or Texas, no right to a jury attaches. If the judge determines a violation occurred, new conditions and/or a new sentence gets imposed. This means the judge could continue the original sentence or supervision term. The judge can impose new conditions or remove ones previously imposed. The supervision period can be extended or eliminated, or the judge could re-sentence the person entirely. A re-sentencing means the judge can impose a new sentence based on the maximum range possible for the charge. For example if the original sentence was probation but could have been 20 years, at a revocation hearing, a judge can impose a 20 year term.

Parole and Probation Violations Involve Non-Criminal Acts

While an arrest for an alleged crime is not a conviction, Pennsylvania, like many states, allows the Court to revoke a person’s probation based on the arrest alone. Known in Pennsylvania as a Daisey Kates hearing, a person can violate their supervision’s terms, solely via criminal charges. Even if a person does not get convicted for a crime, cases like Daisey Kates, allows a judge to sentence them for a supervision violation. The re-sentencing for Daisey Kates violations can include the maximum term for the original offense. Further, Pennsylvania courts along with many others reasoned revocation hearings require lower proof levels than trials.

Especially noteworthy, the government uses parole and probation violations as a method to monitor, control, and secretly tax citizens. Supervision fees, administrative costs, and other fees in addition to seized property, significantly fund many law enforcement agencies and their projects.  Supervision terms often contain clauses allowing warrantless homes, phones, cars, and property searches. Further, many persons on supervision have terms requiring them to cooperate with police. Helping police, also means, supervised persons cannot remain silent, invoke the right against self-incrimination, or otherwise not help assist with providing information.

Police often use supervision lists as starting points whenever a crime occurs. This means police constantly try and find, or if in their interests, create reasons to violate a person, to solve cases. Further, the supervision terms bar associating with persons convicted of misdemeanors and felonies. Many people have criminal records, yet while mostly unknown, case agents will use this information to violate people. Anyone on supervision must proactively protect them self by learning the law and working with a seasoned lawyer.

Parole and Probation Violations Create Time Credit Issues

Also, time credit miscalculations remain a major factor in why people stay in prison much longer than then the parole and probation violations ordered penalty. The most common situation occurs when agencies lodge detainers for new charge(s) or conviction(s). A detainer refers to a hold placed upon a person keeping them incarcerated after they serve their original sentence. The most common detainer relates to immigration holds, keeping persons imprisoned after completing their violation penalty. Navigating the immigration process while handling parole and probation violations becomes complicated and an experienced attorney becomes into a true asset.

Appeals From Parole and Probation Violations

If a person feels the court ruled incorrectly, an attorney may file an appeal on their behalf. An appeal can challenge either the Gagnon I or Gagnon II proceedings, in addition to any conditions, fines, or sentences imposed. Higher courts mandate notices for appeals from revocation proceedings must occur shortly after Gagnon II hearing orders become final. Appeals not filed within this time period become permanently barred as abandoned claims.

Experience Defending Parole and Probation Violations

At Cornerstone Legal Group we have defended many people charged with parole and probation violations. Often case agents, who have a much more relaxed standard for gathering evidence and presenting proof, hold person’s under supervision to higher than ordered and unrealistic release terms. For example, case agents frequently violate persons for positive marijuana drug tests, despite them possessing a medical permit card. Having seasoned attorneys, with years of experience defending people charged with parole and probation violations, remains key to succeeding with your matter. Our attorneys will work tirelessly to protect your rights and ensure you get the best possible representation. If you face a hearing for parole and probation violations contact us now for your free 10 minute consultation.