If the State of Georgia is seeking a probation revocation, it’s essential to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. Swingle Levin Law can help.
What Is a Probation Revocation?
In Greek mythology, Sisyphus is sentenced to forever roll a boulder up a hill. Being on probation can feel like that. You’re doing everything that probation asks, but you seem to be stuck in the same place.
Being on probation in Georgia is a blessing and a curse: you’re free from prison but are walking on eggshells because your freedom may be revoked at any moment. Although you avoided incarceration and living freely under the supervision of a probation officer, in case a probation violation occurs, probation terms can be revoked, and the probationer may face a prison sentence.
Typically, if an individual is charged with probation violations, a probation revocation hearing occurs. At the hearing, the offender has to appear before a judge who will decide whether they have violated the probation terms.
If the State is seeking to revoke your probation, it’s important to speak with a lawyer as soon as you’re aware of the possibility that your probation may be revoked.
When Can The State of Georgia Revoke Probation?
Depending on the reasons that the State is seeking to revoke your probation, you could end up back in prison for the balance of your probation. For example, if you have 20 years left on probation, and are charged with a new felony a court could send you back to prison for 20 years, though the court cannot sentence you to more time than the maximum of the new felony offense (See O.C.G.A. § 42-8-34.1).
Your probation can also be revoked without new charges for infractions such as failing drug screens or associating with people with whom a court has ordered you not to associate.
Probation matters are complicated because even though the sentencing court will make the final decision on whether to revoke your probation or how much probation period to revoke, your lawyer may also need to negotiate with both the prosecutor and your probation officer.
Additionally, probation revocations often involve matters in multiple jurisdictions, further complicating your path to freedom.
How Can Probation Revocation Be Resolved?
Probation revocations are usually resolved in one of four ways. First, a client may sign a waiver that is offered by the probation officer. A waiver is a document produced by your probation officer that has you agree to some amount of your probation being revoked and waiving your right to a hearing on the matter. A lawyer may be able to negotiate a favorable waiver with your probation officer. This can often be accomplished without appearing in court.
Second, a client may admit to some violation of his or her terms of probation with an agreement as to the recommended disposition. A client will then appear in court, admit to some violation of his or her probation and the court will sentence the client to an amount of time or new terms of probation that is are agreed to by the client and prosecution.
Third, a client can admit to some violations and have his or her lawyer argue to the court for their desired sentence. This approach will usually involve presenting evidence and witnesses to the court as a reason for the court to give a lesser punishment than what the prosecution is seeking.
Fourth, a client can contest the alleged probation violation, which will trigger a probation revocation hearing on the new allegations. At that hearing, the prosecution is required to prove your new charges by a preponderance of the evidence, which is a lower standard than proof beyond a reasonable doubt. At this probation revocation hearing, your lawyer can cross-examine witnesses, call witnesses, present evidence, and make arguments to the court in an effort to prevent your probation from being revoked.
How Can Swingle Levin Law Help With Probation Revocation?
Bear in mind that probation officers have the power to initiate a probation revocation process for failing to meet the necessary requirements, even if probation violations were made accidentally.
It doesn’t matter if you accidentally violated probation or failed to satisfy certain probation conditions; the consequences can be harsh. That’s why if you suspect you have done something that can be violating probation terms, you need to contact a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
If I represent you in a probation revocation case, some of the documents my office will be immediately seeking to assist are the following:
-The petition seeking to revoke your probation
-Any warrants issued by your probation officer
-The sentencing documents that placed you on probation
-Discovery related to your new charges
-Contact information for your probation officer
Call my office at 404-436-2450 for a free consultation if you’re facing a probation revocation.