What are the Rules of Probation in Georgia?
Probation can be confusing for the newly initiated, but it’s essential to know the rules if you intend to keep yourself from accruing additional penalties, or even from being sent back to jail.
What is Probation?
Probation is a system that allows people who have been convicted of crimes to remain in the community, or to return to the community, rather than staying in jail. In exchange, parolees are required to follow a series of stringent rules, working alongside a probation officer or supervisor.
How Long Does Probation Last?
The length of probation varies on a case-by-case basis. Normally it lasts somewhere between 1-3 years. However, it can be extended even longer, and in some cases is a lifelong condition of release.
What are the Rules of Probation in Georgia?
In the State of Georgia, the following rules apply to those under standard probation.
- Participate in Your Re-Entry Plan: You must participate in the development and implementation of a reentry plan with your probation supervisor.
- Do Not Break Any Laws: You may not violate any laws, whether local, state, or federal.
- If You Break the Law, Let Your Supervisor Know: If you do violate any laws or community codes (including traffic violations), you must immediately notify your probation supervisor.
- Don’t Drink or Do Drugs: You may not participate in any “injurious and vicious habits”. This includes drinking alcohol and/or using narcotics (except as lawfully prescribed for medicinal purposes)
- Submit to Drug/Alcohol Testing: You may be required to submit to regular, unannounced drug and alcohol testing.
- No Weapons: You may not receive, possess, transport, or attempt to purchase any ammunition, explosives, or deadly weapons of any kind
- Stay Away from Bad Influences: You must “avoid persons or places of disreputable or harmful character.” Your probation supervisor should make clear which people and places you are required to avoid.
- Report to Your Probation Supervisor: You must report to your probation supervisor as directed. You may not evade contact or supervision.
- Allow Your Probation Supervisor Entry into Your Life: You must permit your probation supervisor to visit you at your home and elsewhere.
- Be Employed: You must be suitably employed if it is possible for you to obtain and keep employment in your case.
- Do Not Move: You may not move or change your current address without permission from your probation supervisor.
- Do Not Travel Out of State: You may not leave the State of Georgia for any period of time without permission from your probation supervisor.
- Support Your Dependents: You must support your children and/or legal dependents to the best of your ability.
- Pay Probation Fees: You must pay all fees associated with probation, including payments on restitution, a monthly supervision fee, and a reasonable fee for electronic monitoring (if applicable).
- Work Toward a Diploma, GED, or Trade If You Do Not Have One: If you do not have a high school diploma or a GED and are unable to maintain consistent employment, you must pursue a diploma, a GED, or a trade at a vocational/technical school.
- Perform Community Service: In some cases, probation comes with a community service requirement. If that is the case, you will be required to attend your community service hours and fulfil the community service requirement fully.
In some cases, additional or “special” conditions can be added to the rules of probation. Common special conditions include:
- “Stay-Away” Orders from Certain Locations: In some cases, probation requires you to physically stay away from certain geographic areas, including but not limited to specific businesses and/or private residences.
- “No-Contact” Orders: Depending on the case, you may be barred from contacting certain people. This often includes victims, victims’ family members, co-defendants, witnesses, and other people involved in the crime and the surrounding communities.
- Mental Health Counseling: If you have a history of mental illness, or if your crime may have been caused or affected by mental illness, you may be required to attend mental health counseling as a condition of your probation.
- Substance Abuse Treatment: If drug and/or alcohol abuse contributed to your crime, if you have a history of drug and/or alcohol abuse, or if it is deemed necessary, you may be required to attend drug and/or alcohol abuse treatment as a condition of your probation.
- Electronic Monitoring: In some cases (usually when the crime that triggered probation was violent and/or sexual), you will be required to submit to GPS monitoring or voice recognition monitoring.
- Attend Driving School or Similar Courses/Panels: If relevant, you may be required to attend DUI School, a risk reduction course, defensive driving courses, or a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Victim Impact Panel.
It is absolutely essential to stick to the terms of your probation in order to avoid extended probation and/or jail time. However, the terms of probation can be demanding and, in some cases, very difficult to meet. In any case people do slip up, and without help and representation, the consequences can be disastrous. This is why it is essential to have an experienced, knowledgeable Georgia probation lawyer who can help you through the probation process.
In Savannah, Georgia, Probation Attorney Joe Cronk is ready, willing, and able to help. Joe Cronk and the team at the Law Offices of Harold J. Cronk are qualified experts in Georgia probation law, and can help you get through your probation and back to your regular life. Are you or a loved one having issues with probation in Savannah, Georgia? Don’t wait. Call (912) 999-2445 for a consultation on your case today.
In 2018, an estimated 4.5 million adults in the United States were under community supervision (probation or parole). Probation violations in the state of Georgia often come with serious ramifications, including fines, jail time, or the possibility of longer probation. Possible violations include failure to report to a probation officer, failure to pay fines, failure to abide by court-ordered counseling, or failure to pass a drug test.
If you’ve been charged with a probation violation, consulting with a knowledgeable Georgia probation violation attorney is crucial to building your defense. Our team of experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Harold J. Cronk, PC, can protect your rights and determine your best defense strategy. We proudly represent clients in Savannah, Tybee Island, Garden City, Port Wentworth, Pooler, Chatham County, Georgia and the surroudning counties.
Probation in Georgia
In Georgia, probation is often used to punish someone guilty of an offense without having them incarcerated or in order to reduce their incarceration period. Probationers are assigned to a probation officer who oversees their case and with whom they are required to check-in at regular intervals. A probation officer may also visit the probationer at their home or other location to verify that the terms of probation are being met.
Georgia probation laws generally require that the probationer:
- avoid injurious and dangerous habits;
- avoid persons or places of disreputable character;
- maintain or seek suitable employment, where possible;
- stay within a specified location (such as a city or county);
- pay restitution for damages per court orders;
- avoid violating local, state, and federal laws;
- conform to rehabilitation tests and evaluations;
- wear a tracking device; and
- complete required substance abuse or mental health treatment.
Those convicted of sexual offenses may face additional requirements.
Probation Violations and Punishments
There are four main categories of probation violations:
- Technical Violation – Occurs when a probationer fails to follow one of the general rules of their probation such as failure to report to their probation officer. A technical violation may incur a punishment of revocation of up to 2 years confinement.
- Special Condition Violation – Occurs when a probationer fails to follow a special condition rule of their probation. A special condition may have been assigned to the probation where the court felt the need for extra emphasis. A violation of a special condition may be punished by revocation of the full balance of probation to prison.
- Misdemeanor Violation – Occurs when a probationer commits a misdemeanor offense while on probation. In addition to the punishment that results from the crime itself, the probationer may receive a maximum punishment for the probation violation of revocation of up to 2 years confinement.
- Felony Violation – Occurs when a probationer commits a felony offense while on probation. In addition to the punishment that results from the crime itself, the probationer may receive a maximum punishment for the probation violation of revocation of the full balance of probation or the maximum that could be received on the felony charge to confinement, whichever is lesser.
Why Legal Counsel Is Important
Failure to report to your probation officer or comply with your probation terms and conditions is a serious violation that can lead to severe penalties. If you are facing probation violation charges, it is crucial to consult with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney immediately to build your defense.
At the Law Offices of Harold J. Cronk, PC, our attorneys have devoted their careers to providing strong representation in probation violation matters. As your legal counsel, we will protect your rights and carry out a thorough investigation. We will strategize an effective defense to establish a strong case and attempt to refute the charges against you with overwhelming evidence. With our team on your side, you can anticipate the best possible outcome in your probation violation case.
Experienced Probation Violation Attorney in Savannah, Georgia
Have you been charged with a probation violation? Call the Law Offices of Harold J. Cronk, PC, today to schedule a one-on-one case evaluation. Our attorneys will fight aggressively to have the charges against you dismissed and attempt to keep you out of jail. We are proud to serve clients in Savannah, Chatham County, Tybee Island, Garden City, and Port Wentworth, Georgia. Call us today to speak with a knowledgeable Georgia criminal defense attorney and increase your chances of a favorable outcome.