Georgia Probation Revocation Lawyer
Many of those who are convicted of a criminal offense in Georgia will be sentenced to a term of probation in lieu of jail time. While the specific requirements of probation may vary depending on the type of crime in question, most people can expect a series of restrictions on their conduct, including how often they have to check in with a probation officer, where they can travel, and whether they must comply with drug or alcohol testing. Any mishap or mistake resulting in a violation of these kinds of terms can have severe consequences, including revocation of probation, enhanced penalties, and incarceration, making it especially important for those who are unsure about the conditions of probation or who have been accused of violating those terms, to speak with experienced Georgia probation revocation lawyer about their legal options.
Common Probation Conditions
Although Georgia law provides for the required terms and conditions of probation, judges have discretion when it comes to adding certain terms and conditions. Most probation orders, however, include some or all of the following requirements:
- Regularly reporting to a probation officer;
- Maintaining regular employment;
- Refraining from contact with certain individuals or places;
- The loss of rights to a firearm;
- Attending drug or alcohol counseling, testing, or treatment;
- Performing a certain number of community service hours;
- Paying restitution to the victim for crime-related losses;
- Submitting to random searches of the probationer’s home; and
- Avoiding arrest for additional crimes.
In Georgia, probation violations fall into two categories: technical violations, which involve accusations of violating the conditions of probation, and substantive violations, which involve being accused of a new crime. While the consequences of both types of violations are severe, probationers can generally expect more serious consequences if they commit additional crimes while on probation.
Probation Revocation Hearings
Probation won’t officially be revoked until a court has held a probation revocation hearing and a judge has assessed the allegations. At these hearings, the accused will be given the opportunity to present evidence and to cross-examine the prosecutor’s witnesses or challenge the submission of their evidence. Unlike criminal trials, the state’s burden of proof at probation revocation hearings is relatively low, as prosecutors are not required to prove that the violation occurred beyond a reasonable doubt. Instead, the state need only prove that it is more likely than not that the probationer willfully violated the conditions of his or her probation.
It’s important to note, however, that a person’s probation cannot be revoked if he or she was never given notice of the condition that was allegedly violated. Furthermore, a probationer cannot be imprisoned for failing to pay restitution or fines if the failure to pay was not willful, but was the result of an inability to comply with the order. In these cases, courts are required to consider alternate forms of punishment besides imprisonment.
Call Today with Your Probation-Related Questions and Concerns?
To request a free consultation from the experienced Georgia probation violation lawyers at Hawkins Spizman, simply call us at 770-209-2310 or complete our online contact form. We look forward to working with you through each step of your case.