What Happens If I Violate My Probation In Georgia?
Many criminal offenses carry the likelihood of jail sentence, or in more serious cases, even time in prison. Being sentenced to probation under those circumstances can feel like a huge relief, until you realize that complying with its terms and conditions is essentially a very stressful full-time job. Probation presents a wonderful opportunity for people in Georgia who have committed misdemeanors and even felonies to fulfill their sentence outside of prison under the supervision of a probation officer and while giving back to the community. Many judges will tell a defendant at the time of sentencing that they are sentencing them to jail, but are allowing them to serve that sentence outside the jail, so long as they abide by certain conditions. Many people find the terms and conditions of their probation very difficult or even impossible to fulfill, and they may find themselves facing a potential violation through no fault of their own. Others genuinely disregard the conditions, or find themselves charged with another criminal offense while on probation. If this happens, it’s important to be proactive and do everything you can to combat the allegations, as a finding that a violation occurred can result in the revocation of your probation. And that means you may have to serve the balance of your sentence in jail.
Probation Violations in Georgia
The specific terms and conditions of your probation likely vary, but there are some general ground rules that are fairly universal and are likely included. Violations can take the form of technical and substantive violations. Technical violations occur when a specific term of your probation was violated, such as by failing a drug or alcohol test, possessing a firearm, or failing to maintain proper communication with your probation officer. Substantive violations occur when you break another law (outside of the one you are currently on probation for). You may not receive warning of your violation before you are placed under arrest, and you can be arrested when you report for an appointment with your probation officer.
Probation Revocation Hearing
After you are charged with a probation violation, you will be placed under arrest until it is time for your probation revocation or violation hearing. Unlike in criminal trials, you will not be eligible for bond while you wait for this trial or after the trial while you await sentencing. Additionally, it’s important to understand that the burden of proof for the prosecution in these hearings is much lower than it is in criminal trials. For instance, when you were initially tried, the prosecution had to prove that you had committed the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt (the highest standard of proof). However, in a probation revocation trial they must only prove that it is more likely than not (i.e a preponderance of the evidence) that a violation of the terms of your probation occurred. If they are able to reach this threshold, your probation may be revoked, or, in some cases, the conditions of your probation may become more extensive and restrictive as a consequence.
Talk to Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers
If you are on probation in Atlanta, Dunwoody, Alpharetta, Cobb County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County, Johns Creek, Sandy Springs, or anywhere in Atlanta, and are facing charges of violating the terms of your probation or fear you may soon be, the experienced Georgia criminal defense attorneys at Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers are ready to help. Contact Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers today to schedule a consultation.