State courts often sentence people convicted of crimes to probation because, if their offenses are minor or non-violent, they can live and work in the community while reporting to a probation officer. Additionally, in some cases, a convicted person’s jail sentence is followed by probation because the supervision allows them to assimilate back into society.
If you are on or facing probation and have questions, a defense attorney could assist you in answering them. A Georgia probation lawyer could also assist you if you have violated the terms and conditions of your current orders by protecting your rights and negotiating on your behalf.
In a defendant’s criminal trial sentencing, the judge has the discretion to order jail or prison time but can also suspend incarceration in favor of probation. Under these circumstances, the judge will order specific conditions the defendant must follow.
Much like a legal contract, the courts and defendant give something of value to get something else of value. The defendant is expected to perform the conditions to keep from going to jail. The courts grant probation to gain a rehabilitated citizen.
A defendant violates probation if they fail to meet the conditions imposed by the judge, which could send the person back to jail. A lawyer in Georgia is available to advise individuals served with bench warrants for violating probation conditions.
Georgia has goals for probationers, setting them on the path to productively reenter society. Some of those goals include:
If a probationer does not meet the goals, consequences can be swift and severe. A hardworking attorney could intercede if an individual commits a probation violation in Georgia.
Probation violations can be technical, special condition, or substantive. Probationers who commit technical violations fail to comply with basic conditions, such as not paying fines, traveling out of the approved geographic area, or failing to report to a probation officer on a fixed schedule.
Special condition violations involve a judge’s unique requirements such as keeping a job, using substances the judge prohibits, such as alcohol, or ignoring a restraining order.
If the individual commits another crime while on probation, they have also made a substantive violation. Substantive violations are severe and can lead to a probation officer issuing a warning or requesting a hearing. An experienced local lawyer could represent a party whose probation may be revoked at the violation hearing.
If a probation officer requests a probation violation hearing, the State must prove the violations by a preponderance of the evidence before the court will revoke probation and other remedies. This is a lower standard than in criminal trials in which a conviction is based on guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Some options the court will consider at a probation violation hearing, besides revoking probation and sending the defendant back to jail for the remainder of a sentence, are diversion programs, weekends spent in jail, and community service. The court can also increase the conditions of probation. For instance, the court might order the probationer to meet with a probation officer more often.
Probation instead of incarceration is a tool the justice system uses to allow individuals the chance to remain and thrive in society. Probation can keep families together, as long as a probationer works a job, stays out of trouble, pays fines and restitution, and is held accountable through set visits with a probation officer.
A Georgia probation lawyer can review the terms of your probation and map a plan that allows you to satisfy the court’s demands. We can also represent you at hearings if you violate your probation. Call the firm today to discuss your pending criminal case and how we can benefit you.