Augusta Probation Violation Lawyer
Probation Violation Defense
Many people make the mistake that a probation violation is a relatively minor issue. The truth is, a probation violation can carry very serious consequences, including being compelled to serve jail or prison time that was previously suspended. And, the prosecution’s burden of proof is lower than it is in a criminal case. If you’ve been accused of violating your probation, you should speak with an experienced probation violation attorney right away.
Probation Violation Attorney in Augusta, GA
What is Probation?
A criminal defendant may be placed on probation in two different ways. First, the court may decide to give someone convicted of a crime a chance to make changes without first spending time in jail or prison. In that situation, the court will typically sentence a defendant to a period of probation. Alternatively, a sentence may be partially probated, so the convicted person serves some jail time and is then released on probation. If the terms of probation are violated, they may be returned to incarceration, or face other consequences.
Terms of Probation
The terms of probation vary depending on the court, the charges, and other variables. At a minimum, the terms typically require the probationer to refrain from committing additional crimes. They may also be required to:
- Hold a job or attend school
- Refrain from using drugs or alcohol
- Participate in a rehabilitation program or counseling
- Refrain from contact with certain people
- Perform community service
Other terms may also be ordered.
In certain cases, a criminal defendant may be placed on probation prior to an adjudication of guilt. In that situation, a probation violation is treated differently, and may result in a conviction on the underlying charge.
Consequences of Probation Violations
The procedure for prosecuting a probation violation is simplified compared with a criminal charge, and the bar is set lower for a finding that a probationer has violated the terms of probation. A court may revoke probation when the probationer admits to a violation, or when the prosecution shows by a “preponderance of the evidence” that the violation occurred. In simple terms, that means the prosecutor must show only that it is more likely than not that the probationer committed the violation.
The possible consequences of a probation violation depend on both the original sentence and the nature and seriousness of the probation violation. In all cases except when the probation violation is the commission of a new felony, Georgia law directs the court to consider alternatives to revoking the suspended sentence and incarcerating the defendant. These possible alternatives include:
- Community service
- Probation detention centers
- Alternative confinement
The court is also authorized to consider other alternatives. For instance, the court may add conditions.
The most serious consequences for a probation violation typically occur when either:
- The violation was a violation of a special condition of probation, such as attending drug and alcohol counseling or refraining from contact with the victim, or
- The violation was a felony offense, which means either a felony in the state of Georgia or elsewhere, or a misdemeanor offense in another state that would have been a felony if the act had occurred in Georgia
In the case of a felony, the court may revoke any amount of time suspended, so long as it is not more than the lesser of:
- The remaining term of probation, and
- The maximum sentence authorized for the felony that constituted the violation
So, in a sense, the possible consequences depend on how far into your term of probation you are. However, note that when the violation of probation is the commission of a new felony, you will almost certainly also be charged with that felony, meaning separate and potentially more severe consequences.
If the violation is a violation of a special condition of probation as described above, the court may revoke probation and impose the balance of the original sentence, or any portion of the original sentence the court deems appropriate.
The best approach to fighting a probation violation or avoiding incarceration will depend on the nature of the violation, the time remaining on your term of probation, and other factors. The first step in many cases is to deny the violation and force the prosecution to prove that the violation occurred. Though the burden of proof is lower in a probation violation case and you aren’t entitled to a jury, in some cases it is possible to beat the claim and avoid a determination that you have violated your probation.
That’s one reason it’s important to talk to an Augusta criminal defense lawyer with extensive probation violation defense right away. You may be enticed to “simplify” the process by admitting the violation. And, there are cases in which it may be to your advantage to admit the violation, but not without advice from an experienced probation violation attorney. Generally, if you are going to admit, it should be as part of an agreement that includes the consequences to be imposed.
The goal of probation, for both the state and the criminal defendant, is to avoid or limit incarceration and focus on rehabilitation. I’m here to protect that path for you and give you every opportunity to avoid a determination that you’ve violated your probation. If that’s not the best approach in your case, I will work to minimize the consequences and keep you on the path toward completion of your probation.
Probation violation cases are different from criminal charges and trials. So, it’s important that you choose an experienced probation violation lawyer to represent you if you’ve been accused of violating your probation by committing a new crime or failing to fulfill special conditions of your probation.
Consult With an Augusta Probation Violation Lawyer Today
If you’ve been accused of violating your probation, you should speak with an experienced probation violation attorney right away. Call us or fill out our contact form today to schedule your free consultation.
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Client charged with attempted rape, aggravated assault, home invasion, burglary in the first degree, aggravated assault, kidnapping, possession of a firearm. Not guilty all counts.
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Possession With Intent
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Client charged with aggravated assault, burglary in the first degree, and forgery in the fourth degree. Facing 41 years in prison. Not guilty verdict on all felonies. Only convicted of one count of misdemeanor battery.
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