Violation of Probation


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A defendant who is charged with a violation of probation may be ordered to “turn himself in” to Philadelphia Probation and Parole at 1401 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102. From there the defendant is usually sent to county prison. If the hearing is technical in nature the defendant may be permitted to face the violation “from the street.” If incarcerated a Gagnon Hearing will be held. At the hearing a detainer is usually issued. The defendant is then subjected to incarceration until his detainer is lifted. A detainer can be lifted either at a violation of probation or detainer hearing. The back judge presides over the detainer / violation of probation hearing unless exceptional circumstances arise.

The first issue at a violation of probation hearing is whether the violation is direct (more serious) or technical (less serious). If the violation is direct and the case is pending, the judge will usually continue the hearing until the new case is over. This means the defendant may sit in prison. At this point it may make sense to file a motion to lift detainer or aggressively litigate the new case to disposition. Once the new case is resolved the judge will address the violation of probation. The judge will consider the disposition of the open case. If the defendant beat the open case the detainer will almost always be lifted without a hearing. If the defendant lost the new case then he may face an additional sentence for his violation of his probation.


If the defendant is facing a direct violation of probation and his case is pending, it may make sense to hire a lawyer to litigate a motion to lift detainer. At a detainer hearing a judge will consider lifting a detainer even if the defendant has an open case. While the decision rests on many factors, one of the most important factors is the seriousness of the new charges. For example a defendant who is charged with Retail Theft has a far higher likelihood of winning a motion to lift detainer than a defendant whose new case is Possession of Firearm Prohibited. Our firm will not handle a detainer hearing unless we believe there is a reasonable chance the judge will lift the detainer.


If the defendant is facing a technical violation the judge will hold a violation of probation hearing. At the hearing the judge will determine the sentence for the violation. The judge may consider the nature of the violation, the defendants behavior on probation, whether he is working, going to school, engaging in productive activities, and his history on probation. The DA will then present their opinion of the violation and make a recommendation of additional probation or prison time.

The Law Office of Mark D. Copoulos was founded on our commitment to the client. We pride ourselves on unparalleled service. Our firm answers all incoming calls from clients, at all hours, and strives to promptly resolve your legal issue.

Areas of Practice

1628 JFK Blvd., Ste. 1301
Philadelphia, PA 19103