Violation of Probation in Georgia
If you are accused of a violation of probation in Georgia, you want an experienced attorney. Contact a criminal defense attorney at Summer Law Firm for help.
Probation is a period of supervision over a criminal offender instead of jail time ordered by the court. Most people prefer probation to a jail sentence since it offers relative freedom despite a criminal conviction. While it may look less restrictive than jail, the truth is that being on probation can feel like imprisonment.
With the stringent requirements and much more extended periods that probation lasts, violating probation mistakenly is very easy. If you do this and your probation officer becomes aware, you might be in great trouble. You might be at risk of a probation revocation and serving jail time. So if you think you have violated probation, you should find out precisely what that means for you.
What Does Violation of Probation Mean?
When a person is on probation for a criminal offense, specific terms are fixed that the person must follow instead of going to jail. Your probation terms could be to get a job or enroll in school, get state permission before traveling, pay some required fees, meet with your probation officer several times a week, do community service, and so on. These terms are fixed and set with the intention that you obey them strictly as a corrective measure to help you become a law-abiding citizen.
Violation of probation means you have not fulfilled one or more of these requirements. Fulfilling these requirements is what ensures your continued freedom, so when you violate probation, it could result in incarceration, especially without the competent legal representation of a criminal defense attorney. However, before the consequence of your probation violation can be determined, you need to understand the types of probation violations in Georgia.
Probation violations fall into two major categories:
- Technical violations
- Substantive violations
Technical Violation of Probation in Georgia
Technical probation violations are acts of non-compliance with the probation conditions without committing a new criminal offense. Some common technical violations are:
- Failing to pay associated fines, fees, or restitution
- Missing a court hearing
- Breaking a curfew
- Contacting prohibited people
- Testing positive for drugs or failing an alcohol test
- Not checking in with your probation supervisor
Your probation officer has a lot of discretion here regarding whether to report you if they feel you are slacking. If they believe you have violated the requirements of your probation sentence, they can have you arrested without a warrant.
Substantive Probation Violation in Georgia
Where you have committed a substantive violation, you have committed another crime during your probation period. The criminal offense could be something as minor as a simple traffic offense or a much more severe criminal offense. Of the probation violation types, this could attract the most serious consequences.
Committing a substantive violation will result in your probation officer initiating a probation revocation hearing. It is then up to the judge to decide whether you violated your probation in deed and the penalty you will face. In the case of substantive violation, it is more likely that you will serve jail time as your probation will not only be reviewed, but you will also be tried separately on new criminal charges.
Consider hiring a qualified assault and battery lawyer as soon as possible to get started with your probation violation defense. A professional and highly experienced law office helping your case could make all the difference.
Is Violation of Probation a Felony in Georgia?
A probation violation is not a felony in itself. Only a judge can determine the severity of a probation violation based on the exact requirement a person violates. Technical offenses are not necessarily crimes; substantive violations could be felonies or misdemeanors. An example is if you violate your probation substantively by committing a traffic offense.
Getting a regular speeding ticket or committing a first-time DUI is a misdemeanor. On the other hand, more severe crimes like a DUI case that caused serious injury to another party will constitute a felony. So while violating the probation is not a felony, the action that violates the probation could be one.
If you are unsure whether you are guilty of a felony, a criminal trespass lawyer can advise and represent you legally.
How Does Violation of Probation Work in Georgia?
According to Georgia law, a probation officer can arrest a probationer who they believe has violated a probation term. Alternatively, the appropriate legal officer can issue a warrant for that person’s arrest. The court can then commit such persons to jail or release them with or without bail to await a revocation hearing. During the proceedings, the probationer has a chance to be heard fully and represented by legal counsel.
One can have their case dismissed if they are not found guilty of the violation. However, if the court finds the individual guilty, it could decide to modify the probation terms, revoke it entirely, or continue with it unmodified. In the case of unmodified continual probation, the person may be let off with a warning if the offense is minor.
On the other hand, where there is a revocation order, the probationer may have to serve their original jail time or a portion of it. The probation period the person has done is considered as part of the time served in the original sentence.
How Long Do You Go to Jail for Probation Violation in the State of Georgia?
For a technical probation violation, a person can have up to two years of their probation term revoked to serve in jail instead. The judge can reduce this according to their discretion. Also, if the person was on probation for a misdemeanor, they will likely get off with this reduced punishment.
Regarding a substantive violation, a judge can order that the remaining probation term be revoked and served in jail. Then, the new offense that caused the violation will be tried separately and come with its punishment. Violating felony probation will almost surely lead to revocation of the rest of the individual’s probation and incarceration.
Statute of Limitations on Probation Violation
The wording of Georgia law provides that a person may be arrested and charged for a probation violation during their probation period. This means that if your probation is over, you will not be charged for a violation where your P.O was unaware or took no action against you. However, this is not a Statute of Limitation in the strict sense of the word.
Furthermore, if you violated your probation by committing another offense during probation, you can still be tried for that crime after your probation is over. The Statute of Limitation applicable will be provided by criminal law for the new crime.
Hiring a competent criminal defense attorney as soon as possible may lead to lesser consequences for a probation violation. Contact a DUI Lawyer in Gainesville now to get the help you need.