Washington County Court of Common Pleas


Probation Services - Adult Probation - Violations and Revocation

Violations of Probation and Parole

Clients placed on supervision with APO are required to follow certain rules of conduct (Conditions of Supervision) and any Special Conditions imposed by the Court. Technical Violations are actions that violate the Conditions of Supervision. Strictly speaking, a Substantive Violation is a conviction in a court of record (i.e., above the District Justice level) for a criminal offense that was committed while the person was on APO supervision; in practice, however, the term refers to any new criminal offense/arrest while on supervision, whether or not there has been a conviction.

Response to violations ranges from none to incarceration and depends on their seriousness, the risk of further crimes, and compliance with the case plan. In general, probation or parole clients who commit a serious crime (especially one involving personal threat or injury) will be detained, as will those whose behavior is out of control (excessive drinking, drug use, etc.) or who present an immediate threat to the safety of themselves or others. Clients who have been generally compliant may not be detained if an alternative (treatment, counseling, increased supervision level, etc.) that presents minimal risk can be devised.

Clients whose violations are actions that are not intrinsically criminal and/or dangerous (missing an appointment, not paying as scheduled, etc.) will usually not be detained immediately. The PO may meet with the client to discuss the violations and how to prevent any recurrence. A violation hearing will be scheduled if the client does not cooperate.

The Revocation Process

The ultimate response to violations is revocation. This is done through a process of two hearings, called Gagnon hearings after Gagnon v. Scarpelli, a U.S. Supreme Court Case that mandated the procedure. The Gagnon I hearing is the preliminary violation hearing. Its purpose is to determine whether there is probable cause to believe that the alleged violations occurred and that the client committed them. This hearing may be held before the sentencing Judge but is most often heard by the APO Chief, Assistant Chief, or Supervisor. The PO presents the case against the client and the client presents the defense to the allegations; either party may introduce supporting testimony or documentation. If probable cause is found, the PO may then petition the Judge to hold a Gagnon II, which is the actual revocation hearing. If the Judge finds that there is a preponderance of the evidence (50%+) that the defendant committed the violations, then the defendant’s probation/parole will be revoked. What the Court does next depends on the individual circumstances and the type of supervision that the defendant was on.

ARD or PWV: These may be continued, extended, dismissed, or modified. More likely, the case will revert to where it was when these dispositions were first imposed. Most defendants plead guilty and are placed on regular probation or are sentenced to incarceration. The case is returned to the pending trial list if the defendant does not plead guilty.

Probation or Intermediate Punishment: May be continued, extended, dismissed, modified, or a sentence may be imposed. The length of the revoked probation has no effect on the length of the sentence, which can be more or less than was the probation or IP.

Parole: Upon revocation, the defendant is returned to jail to serve the balance of the original sentence, with no credit for street time. For example, if the defendant was sentenced to incarceration for 3 – 12 months, and was then released on parole after three months, the balance of the sentence is nine months. The defendant may be reparoled but the expiration date will be adjusted to reflect the lost street time.