In Georgia, if you are convicted of a misdemeanor or felony offense, the court may offer you probation as an alternative to jail time. With probation, you must abide by the court’s rules and conditions, such as regularly checking in with your probation officer, attending counseling, or performing community service.
However, if you fail to comply with any of the conditions of your probation, you may be sent back to court and have your probation revoked, meaning you could face jail time. To ensure the best outcome, it is important to seek the help of a knowledgeable criminal law attorney who can help protect your rights.
Let’s find out how to navigate and, perhaps even avoid, returning to jail for probation revocation.
Probation in Georgia
Instead of serving time in jail, probation is an option that allows individuals to remain in the community, but with certain conditions and restrictions. These conditions may include regular meetings with a probation officer, attending court-ordered classes or counseling, avoiding contact with certain people, and not breaking any laws. Despite the cost of supervision and other requirements, probation can be an effective form of justice.
Serving probation may include one or more of the following requirements:
- Drug or alcohol testing, counseling, or treatment.
- Regular reports to your probation officer.
- Loss of gun rights.
- Community service.
- Consistent employment.
- Submission to randomly scheduled searches of your home.
- Avoidance of certain people or places.
- Rendering of restitution to the victim(s).
- Adherence to the law.
A mistake or lapse in judgment during this time may result in a complicated situation. Suppose your probation officer suspects you are not adhering to the terms of your probation. In that case, they will create a document asking for the revocation of your probation and will issue a warrant for your arrest.
Probation violation proceedings must always satisfy the following queries:
- What is the original felony or crime?
- How has the probationer been since?
- What is the violation?
- Has a probation revocation happened in the past?
Keep in mind that the details of each probation revocation are individual and may be impacted by specific characteristics of the case, like whether the person is a first-time offender or if the violation was a common or special condition of probation. When this happens, seek representation from an attorney well-versed in criminal law.
Revocation begins with the probation officer submitting a waiver suggesting a penalty for a probation violation. Both parties must agree upon the terms of the waiver before it is administered. A criminal defense attorney may be hired to negotiate the terms of the waiver. The person will go to the next step if the waiver is not issued.
The parties can ‘admit and argue’ when waiving a probation violation, wherein the probationer admits to the violation but requests a judge to decide their penalty instead of the sentence offered by the probation officer. Witnesses and attorneys may be present during the hearing.
A contested hearing occurs when a person on probation wishes to contest the violation claims against them. During the hearing, the State must prove the violation occurred through a preponderance of the evidence, which is a reduced standard. It is important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney present during the hearing to protect your rights and freedom.
You may be sent to jail if you have violated the terms of your probation. However, representation by an experienced criminal law attorney may be able to negotiate a different outcome that does not involve going to jail. Every situation is unique, so it is important to speak with a lawyer to determine the best action for your situation.
Contact Hanks, Ballard & Barth
Our expert attorneys are ready to assist clients struggling with criminal law in Madison, GA. Visit our website today for more information!