As a Georgia DUI Lawyer, I speak with many individuals on a daily basis who are on probation in Georgia as a result of prior DUI convictions or even other alcohol or drug related offenses. Georgia DUI Penalties are extremely harsh, and even for a First DUI in Georgia, an individual may have to deal with several years of probation.
In today's post, I will focus on what a charge of Violation of Probation in Georgia looks like, how you could potentially violate, and what the consequences of a violation are.
Let me start with explaining what probation actually is. Probation in Georgia is an alternative for convicted people to satisfy a jail or prison sentence out of custody meaning outside of jail or prison.
This is important to understand. Many people are happy to take probation as an alternative to jail time, but it is not a “get out of jail free” card. You are simply satisfying a jail/prison sentence outside of custody.
Probation can be a penalty for both misdemeanor and felony convictions. Probation sentences can last anywhere from a few months to several years, and there are conditions that apply. Conditions can include both general and special conditions.
General conditions include:
- Do not violation the laws of any governmental unit,
- Avoid injurious and vicious habits – especially alcoholic intoxication and drugs unless prescribed lawfully,
- Avoid persons or places of disreputable or harmful character,
- Report to the probation supervisor as directed and permit such supervisor to visit you at home or elsewhere,
- Work faithfully at suitable employment insofar as may be possible,
- Do not change your present place of abode, move outside the jurisdiction of the Court, or leave the State for any period of time without prior permission of the probation supervisor,
- Support your legal dependents to the best of your ability.
Special conditions can include:
- Attend risk reduction or Georgia DUI school,
- Attend a defensive driving school,
- Be evaluated for drugs and/or alcohol and follow any treatment that is recommended pursuant to the evaluation,
- Be evaluated for anger and violence, deviant behavior, sexual deviancy and/or other special needs counseling and following any treatment that is recommended pursuant to the evaluation,
- Pay any fines and/or restitution as ordered by probation or as directed by the court,
- Provide a certain number of community service hours within a prescribed period of time,
- Pay monthly probation supervision fees,
- Avoid contact or violence with certain named people or entry into certain prohibited places'
- Do not drink any alcohol or take any drugs without a prescription,
- Submit to random drug and alcohol tests at your own expense as directed by probation.
Violation of Probation in Georgia
There are different ways to violate probation in Georgia, and I've broken it down into different sections below.
1 (a) Technical Condition Violation: failure to meet one of the technical conditions of your probation. This means that you've failed to pay certain fees or fines or to pay restitution. Or possibly you've failed to report to your probation officer, or you've left the jurisdiction.
1 (b) Special Condition Violation: failure to meet one of the special conditions of your probation. This means that you've failed to attend one of the courses assigned to you or any of the programs assigned to you.
2 Substantive Violation: failure to refrain from violating a law. This means that you've committed another crime while on probation. Committing even a misdemeanor while you're on probation could result in 2 years of the probation sentence being revoked - meaning you'll have to serve those years in jail. Committing a felony while you're on probation will result in full revocation of your probation sentence, and you will serve the rest of the term in jail or prison.
Penalties for violating probation include extension of your probation term, hefty fines, more community service, more special conditions, and mandatory counseling.
If you violate your probation, most of the time, there will be a warrant issued for your arrest. A judge will determine whether or not there has actually been a violation. If a violation is determined by the judge, then he or she will then determine the penalty for your violation.
When proving violation of probation, it is important to note that it is much easier for the prosecution to prove a violation than any other crime. This is because preponderance of evidence is the standard of proof for a violation of probation. This means that the standard of proof for the offense of violating probation is lower than other crimes because you are serving a jail sentence outside of jail. The standard of proof to demonstrate your violation of your probation will be the same standard of proof as if you committed a crime within the four walls of a jail or a prison. Preponderance of evidence is best understood as what is more probable and true.
If you have violated your probation in Georgia, you need to arm yourself with the best possible protection: a Georgia DUI Attorney. The lawyers in our offices have over 50 years of combined experience and are well-versed with negotiating deals before violation of probation hearings. If you or a loved one has been charged with violating probation in Georgia, contact us today.