GA law mandates a 12-month sentence in DUI cases. Judges usually allow DUI offenders to serve most of this sentence on probation rather than in custody. While on probation, you must follow certain conditions, which typically include reporting to your probation officer, not violating any new criminal offenses, submitting to and screening clean for alcohol and drugs (not lawfully prescribed medications), and following the terms of your sentence.
Unfortunately, judges usually do not set a bond in Georgia probation violation cases. Thus, you will have to wait in jail until your Probation Revocation Hearing date. Our attorneys can reschedule this hearing to an earlier date to help get you out of jail sooner.
Probation Revocation Hearings
At the Probation Revocation Hearing, the prosecutor must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that you violated a term or condition of your probation. This standard of proof is lower than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard used in criminal proceedings. You have a right to refute the prosecutor's evidence and offer other evidence.
The goal of the hearing is to either close the case with credit for the time you served in jail or in DUI cases, to reinstate probation with no additional penalties for the probation violation. Of course, when a person has not violated their probation, our goal is the win the hearing.
If you violate any probation condition, you may be arrested and risk having the remainder of your probation revoked, which means you may serve the rest of your sentence in jail.
In Georgia, under O.C.G.A. § 42-8-34(g), the Judge can modify a person's disposition but cannot increase the punishment or the length of sentence. This means that an attorney can offer appropriate alternatives to jail during sentencing. Examples of alternative sentencing include imposing additional fines, attendance at counseling or treatment programs, and additional community service. If possible, an attorney would work out an agreement with the prosecutor or the probation officer before the hearing starts.
Probation Violation Based on Inability to Pay
Under O.C.G.A. § 42-8-34, before a Georgia judge can rule that a person has violated his or her probation, the judge must first determine the defendant's ability to pay. The issue is whether there is a "willful" non-payment of fines and court costs or the non-payment is based on an inability to pay. "Willfulness" is the critical issue and must be determined in court.
If you failed to make a payment because of an inability to pay you will want to bring to court proof such as unemployment filings, copies of bills related to living expenses, and even tax returns. The judge cannot legally revoke your probation if you document that you are doing your best to pay.
However, one common mistake is when a person fails to report to their probation officer because they cannot afford to pay their fines, fees, or restitution. Our advice is to still report and try to pay something, even just a few dollars.
Contact a Georgia DUI Attorney:
If you believe you may have violated probation or if your loved one has violated probation, contact an experienced Georgia Probation Violation Attorney today.