Probation is often preferable to spending time in jail or prison. Many defendants work hard to get on probation and stay in the program. In many instances, however, probation comes with many strict requirements and limitations as to what a person can and cannot do. It can be difficult to maintain these requirements while also living up to your responsibilities at work and home, and some probationers end up accused of violating the terms of their probation, or more commonly known as “VOP”.If you have been charged with a violation of probation (VOP), you have the right to consult with your own defense lawyer who can protect your constitutional rights. Read on to learn more about the potential consequences of a probation violation, and how a defense lawyer can help you handle these allegations.
What Are the Conditions of Probation in Georgia?
Whenever a judge orders probation, it involves terms that must be followed. These are referred to as General Conditions of Probation. Some General Conditions of Probation are: probationers cannot commit new crimes, and they must check in with their assigned probation officer when required. Other conditions are specific to the charged offense. These are called Special Conditions of Probation. Some Special Conditions of Probation examples would be a DUI defendant might be required to attend AA meetings or MADD victim impact panels; People charged with domestic violence may be required to attend a Family Violence Intervention Program (“FVIP”), or anger management classes. The consequences of probation violation depend on the type of violation that has been committed. In general, these fall into one of three categories:
A technical violation occurs when a defendant fails to meet some procedural requirement of probation. Perhaps fines were not paid, or the probationer was late reporting to their probation officer with the assigned correctional officer. These are the least severe types of probation violations and they usually result in the most lenient punishments.
Special Condition Violation
A special condition of probation is one that is specific to the facts of your case. DUI probationers, for example, are usually required to complete a court-mandated drug and alcohol evaluation. If the evaluation is not completed, it would likely be considered a violation of a special condition of probation. Similar tests might be required in drug cases. Many crimes have been moved to the internet. Fraud, theft, scamming, and child pornography are examples of crimes that can be committed online. In these cases, a probationer will commonly be ordered not to use the internet. In extreme cases, the defendant might even have to surrender internet-enabled devices. If the probation officer finds out that the defendant has accessed the internet anywhere on any type of device, this would be a violation of the special condition of probation. Special conditions are more substantive than procedural infractions. They carry more weight to the charged offense, and as such, they usually result in harsher punishments than mere technical infractions.
Substantive violations are the most severe of all probation violations. They occur when a probationer commits a new crime. In addition to possibly being sentenced for the new crime, the probationary sentence can also be revoked to spend additional time in jail or prison. These two competing sentences may be run concurrently (at the same time) or consecutively (back-to-back).
What Happens After a Probation Violation Occurs?
If a probation officer believes you have violated the terms of your probation, he or she can issue a warrant for your arrest. This is not done in every case. Sometimes, the officer will simply file the violation with the court, and you will be summoned to appear. But serious or repeated violations are likely to result in your arrest. Once you get to court, you have the opportunity to dispute the alleged violation directly and zealously. This is why it is important to work with an experienced probation violation lawyer. If you can prove that the violation did not occur, you cannot be punished for it.
What Are the Penalties for Probation Violations in Georgia?
The most severe penalty a person can face for a probation violation is revoking the balance of the sentence. In this case, your probation is revoked by the court, and you will serve the remainder of the sentence in jail or prison. If the sentence involves a felony, you may be eligible for parole at some point.
What if I am on First Offender Probation in Georgia?
If you were originally sentenced as a “First Offender,” there are special rules that apply to you. A violation of probation will not always result in the revocation First Offender status, but it might. If the Judge decides to revoke your First Offender status, though, you can then be re-sentenced up to the maximum amount of time originally allowed for the offense you were originally sentenced to. If you are a First Offender facing a possible Violation of Probation, it is highly recommended that you hire an experienced lawyer to defend your due process rights.
Protect Your Legal Rights by Hiring an Experienced Georgia Probation Violation Lawyer
Your constitutional rights do not stop after a conviction. You are entitled to due process throughout all post-conviction proceedings, including allegations of any probation violations. Attorney Adam D. Brown is a skilled criminal defense lawyer who is dedicated to protecting the rights of people accused of violating their probation. Call (404) 947-9721 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation with an experienced Georgia probation violation lawyer.
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