What You Should Know About Probation Violations
Probation ordered as a penalty for a criminal conviction allows the offender to avoid incarceration. Although probation is accompanied by conditions an offender must adhere to for the duration of the probation period, it allows them to continue working to support themselves or to meet other financial obligations. Probation provides limited freedom, but it’s freedom nonetheless.
Probation is a privilege not awarded to everyone convicted of a crime, and it comes with a burden of responsibility. If you have been given the opportunity to avoid incarceration as part of your punishment, don’t risk having the opportunity revoked. There are serious consequences for probation violations.
If you have been granted probation for a conviction in Atlanta, Georgia, or throughout the state of Georgia, including Lawrenceville, Cumming, or Fulton, Cobb, Dekalb, Gwinnett, Forsyth, Douglas, Coweta, or Carroll counties, you should know what happens if you violate the conditions of your probation. As a former prosecuting attorney, I understand the privilege of probation. As a criminal defense attorney, I use that knowledge to the advantage of the clients I serve at Kyle H. Jarzmik Law.
Types of Probation Violations in Georgia
There are three types of violations you can commit while on probation in Georgia:
A technical violation is a failure to adhere to the general conditions of probation, such as failure to report to your probation officer, not paying fines, fees, or restitution as ordered, or leaving the geographic area to which you are confined during your probation.
A special condition violation, as the name implies, involves a failure to adhere to a special condition of your probation. Special conditions may include refraining from drinking alcohol, prohibiting physical contact or communications with specific individuals, or holding a job while you are on probation.
A substantive probation violation occurs if you are arrested for the commission of another crime while on probation.
What Happens if You Violate Your Probation
An initial and minor violation may result in a warning issued by your probation officer. If you're fortunate enough to get a warning, you will likely get only one warning. So if you do, heed it.
Depending on the violation, a warrant will be issued for your arrest or you will be summoned to appear at a probation violation hearing where the judge will review evidence of the alleged probation violation. Note that unlike the criminal proceedings that resulted in your conviction, the burden of proof for the State is lower to prove a probation violation. They only have to prove you violated probation by a preponderance of the evidence, rather than beyond a reasonable doubt in a trial.
If arrested or summoned to court, you should appear with your criminal defense attorney. The prosecuting attorney and judge may consider extenuating circumstances, the severity of the alleged violation, and your behavior while on probation otherwise when weighing judgment. The judge will then sentence you for violating the conditions of your probation.
What Penalties Might I Face?
Penalties will vary. Unlike sentencing for classes of misdemeanors and felonies, there are no sentencing guidelines for probation violations. The court can revoke your probation up to the time left on your sentence, or impose additional conditions of probations, such as increased drug testing, community service, or substance abuse counseling.
First and foremost, make sure you appear in court if summoned, preferably with your criminal defense attorney. A failure to appear will result in revocation of your probation and issuance of a warrant for your arrest. You will likely be incarcerated to complete time served for the initial conviction and may also be prosecuted on the failure to appear charge.
Trust the Experienced Legal Counsel of Kyle H. Jarzmik Law
Everyone makes mistakes. If you received probation for a conviction, you have been given the opportunity to avoid jail or prison time. If you make a mistake by violating the conditions of your probation, you could lose your freedom altogether. What you need is an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side to mitigate the damage.
At Kyle H. Jarzmik Law, I fight for my clients who are accused of violating their probation in Atlanta, Georgia, and throughout the state. When your freedom is at stake, you will want me in your corner.
If you have violated the conditions of your probation, been accused of violating them, or if you have questions about those conditions, call Kyle H. Jarzmik Law now to schedule a consultation.