First things first - let's do a quick run through on probation. Probation in Georgia is an alternative for convicted people to satisfy a jail or prison sentence out of custody meaning outside of jail or prison. These include misdemeanor and felony convictions. Probation sentences can last anywhere from a few months to several years. It is a common part of the criminal process in Georgia. However, probation can consist of many conditions.
General conditions include:
1. Do not violation the laws of any governmental unit,
2. Avoid injurious and vicious habits – especially alcoholic intoxication and drugs unless prescribed lawfully,
3. Avoid persons or places of disreputable or harmful character,
4. Report to the probation supervisor as directed and permit such supervisor to visit you at home or elsewhere,
5. Work faithfully at suitable employment insofar as may be possible,
6. Do not change your present place of abode, move outside the jurisdiction of the Court, or leave the State for any period of time without prior permission of the probation supervisor,
7. Support your legal dependents to the best of you ability.
There are some probation sentences that include special conditions, which include:
1. Attend risk reduction or DUI school,
2. Attend a defensive driving school,
3. Be evaluated for drugs and/or alcohol and follow any treatment that is recommended pursuant to the evaluation,
4. Be evaluated for anger and violence, deviant behavior, sexual deviancy and/or other special needs counseling and following any treatment that is recommended pursuant to the evaluation,
5. Pay any fines and/or restitution as ordered by probation or as directed by the court,
6. Provide a certain number of community service hours within a prescribed period of time,
7. Pay monthly probation supervision fees,
8. Avoid contact or violence with certain named people or entry into certain prohibited places'
9. Do not drink any alcohol or take any drugs without a prescription,
10. Submit to random drug and alcohol tests at your own expense as directed by probation.
Now onto our primary focus - a violation of probation charge in Georgia.
There are three different categories of violating probation.
1. Technical Condition Violation: failure to meet one of the technical conditions of your probation. This means that you've failed to pay certain fees or fines or to pay restitution. Or possibly you've failed to report to your probation officer, or you've left the jurisdiction.
2. Special Condition Violation: failure to meet one of the special conditions of your probation. This means that you've failed to attend one of the courses assigned to you or any of the programs assigned to you.
3. Substantive Violation: failure to refrain from violating a law. This means that you've committed another crime while on probation.
As you probably guessed, number three is the most serious of the categories of probation violation. Committing even a misdemeanor while you're on probation could result in 2 years of the probation sentence being revoked - meaning you'll have to serve those years in jail. Committing a felony while you're on probation will result in full revocation of your probation sentence, and you will serve the rest of the term in jail or prison. Other penalties for violating probation include extension of your probation term, hefty fines, more community service, more special conditions, and mandatory counseling.
Most of the time, if someone violates their probation, there will be a warrant issued for your arrest. While at court, a judge will determine whether or not there has been a violation. If there is a violation, the judge will then determine the penalty. Preponderance of evidence is the standard of proof for a violation of probation. This means that the standard of proof is extremely low because you are serving a jail sentence on the outside. The standard of proof to demonstrate your violation of your probation will be the same standard of proof as if you committed a crime within the four walls of a jail or a prison. Preponderance of evidence is best understood as what is more probable and true. This highly contrasted with "beyond a reasonable doubt" which is the higher standard of proof used for criminal cases.
This is when you need to provide yourself with the best possible protection: a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer. All of our lawyers are well-experienced in negotiating deals before a violation of probation hearings. We help our clients to avoid being taken into custody.
If you or a loved one has violated their probation - either by accident or by failure to meet probation conditions, contact a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney today.