What is a Gagnon Hearing in Pennsylvania?

Individuals in Pennsylvania currently under parole or probation should familiarize themselves with the process of a Gagnon hearing. If you are arrested for a parole violation, you may be subjected to this hearing and get your parole revoked.

In Pennsylvania, there are two types of Gagnon hearings. The first is to assess whether or not there is probable cause to believe you violated your parole, and the second is for the prosecution to prove that you did. If a judge finds that you did not violate your parole, you will be released. However, if the prosecution can prove that you did violate your parole in a Gagnon hearing, your parole may be revoked. Many Pennsylvanians can’t take that risk, so you should hire an experienced attorney if you’re facing a Gagnon hearing for a parole violation.

Our lawyers are here to help you move forward with your life after an arrest or conviction. For a free case evaluation with the Pennsylvania criminal defense attorneys at Young, Marr, Mallis & Deane, call today at (215) 372-8667.

What Are the Different Types of Gagnon Hearings in Pennsylvania?

If you’re convicted of a crime in Pennsylvania and are subsequently found to violate your parole, you will likely experience what’s known as a Gagnon hearing. There are two types of Gagnon hearings in Pennsylvania, both of which individuals should understand if they’re arrested for a parole violation.

Gagnon I Hearing

Gagnon I hearings occur almost immediately after an individual in Pennsylvania is arrested for a parole violation. During this initial Gagnon hearing, a prosecutor will attempt to provide probable cause that you violated your parole and should remain in jail for the time being. If a prosecutor cannot show sufficient evidence to a Pennsylvania judge, you will be released. Having a skilled Philadelphia criminal defense attorney during a Gagnon I hearing is crucial. Although the burden is on the prosecution to show there is enough reason to believe you violated parole, having an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney by your side can help you understand the process and remain informed during a Gagnon I hearing in Pennsylvania.

Gagnon II Hearing

A Gagnon II hearing will occur to determine whether or not a Pennsylvania resident did, in fact, violate the conditions of their parole. During a Gagnon II hearing, the prosecution must provide evidence that you did, in fact, violate your parole. Think of a Gagnon II hearing as a mini-trial, during which the prosecution must prove your violation to a judge. If the prosecution cannot prove that you violated your parole during a Gagnon II hearing, you will be released. Having a Bucks County criminal attorney during a Gagnon II hearing is crucial since the burden of proof in such a hearing is less than that in a criminal trial.

What Are the Potential Outcomes of a Pennsylvania Gagnon Hearing?

Facing a Gagnon hearing can be overwhelming for individuals in Pennsylvania. Parole violations are taken seriously in Pennsylvania, and alleged violations can result in additional jail time. If you’re facing a Gagnon hearing in Pennsylvania, you should understand the potential outcomes so that you can properly prepare.

No Violation

If a Gagnon I hearing is successful for a Pennsylvania parolee, then a Gagnon II hearing will not occur. If, however, the prosecution can provide sufficient evidence of your alleged parole violation in a Gagnon I hearing, a Gagnon II hearing will be scheduled. During that second Gagnon hearing, a judge may find that you did not commit any actions that constitute a parole or probation violation. Clearly, this is the ideal outcome of a Gagnon hearing, second only to a Gagnon I hearing resulting in no need for a second hearing.

Violation and Revoked Parole

Unfortunately, if a Gagnon II hearing is unfavorable, your parole may be revoked. This is not ideal for Pennsylvania residents who have served their time and are dutifully upholding their parole requirements. When parole is revoked, it can negatively impact an individual’s rehabilitation and future success.

Violation and Other Means of Rehabilitation

Even if a Gagnon hearing does not go in your favor, that doesn’t mean you will automatically get additional jail time. Gagnon hearings are often presided over by the same judge who heard your previous criminal trial. If the judge believes that you were, in fact, in violation of your parole but does not think you deserve additional jail time, they may elect to pursue other paths to rehabilitation.

Why Should You Hire a Pennsylvania Attorney for a Gagnon Hearing?

Hiring an attorney to help you navigate a Gagnon hearing in Pennsylvania is essential. If a Gagnon II hearing does not go in your favor, a presiding judge may revoke your parole, resulting in you serving additional jail time.

In the Pennsylvania Gagnon hearings, the burden of proof is not exceptionally high. Unlike in criminal trials, where the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant committed a crime, the burden of proof in Gagnon hearings equates to a preponderance of the evidence. Simply put, the prosecution must convince a judge that there is a greater than 50% chance that you violated your parole.

Because of this, individuals without experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorneys may have a greater chance of getting additional jail time if found have violated their parole at a Gagnon hearing. So, individuals facing a Gagnon hearing in Pennsylvania should certainly hire a skilled lawyer who can represent their interests and help them avoid additional consequences for an alleged parole violation.

Call Our Attorneys if You’re Facing a Gagnon Hearing in Pennsylvania Today

If you’ve recently been arrested for a parole violation in Pennsylvania, reach out to our lawyers right away. For a free case evaluation with the Doylestown criminal defense attorneys at Young, Marr, Mallis & Deane, call today at (215) 372-8667.