Understanding Probation Violations
A person who commits a minor crime or one who has exhibited good behavior during incarceration may be released from detention under supervision. This program, referred to as probation, allows the criminal justice system to observe a person’s actions and see if that person is committed to upholding the law. Many first-time violators are sentenced to a few months or years of probation instead of receiving any jail time. However, failure to comply with the terms of this release can result in violations that lead to serious consequences. Understanding probation violations may help you or those close to you avoid facing the harsh penalties associated with violating the conditions of probation.
When a person is given the opportunity to be placed on probation instead of having to spend time in jail or prison there are always strings attached to the release. The most basic probation term is to refrain from repeating the activity that ended with you being arrested and charged in the first place. There are other conditions that vary based upon the actual crime and could include community service, not having contact with certain people, or performing specific acts of restitution. The terms of your probation are explained to you upon release and the agency supervising your probation will ensure that you remain aware of the rules.
There are three different ways to violate probation in the state of Georgia. These violation types are referred to as:
- Technical Violations
- Substantive Violations
- Special Condition Violations
Technical violations are considered the most common type and involve a technical condition of a person’s probation terms. Actions such as not meeting with your probation officer, leaving the jurisdiction with permission, and not paying your fines or court ordered restitution are all technical violations. A substantive violation occurs when a person who is already on probation is arrested for committing another crime while a special condition violation happens when a release specific condition (maintaining employment, obeying a no trespass order, etc.) is violated.
Once you have violated probation it is difficult to avoid major legal consequences. After the violation is discovered, you will have to attend a hearing that is usually in front of the judge who originally sentenced you to probation. Depending on the seriousness of the violation, you can be fined, have additional special conditions added to the terms of your probation, or have your probation revoked, meaning you will be incarcerated. In some cases, a seemingly minor probation violation can lead to significant penalties and jail time.
When to Seek Help
If you are accused of violating the conditions of your probation, you should contact a qualified attorney immediately. The skilled criminal defense attorneys at Yeargan, Barber & Kert are available to protect your best interests by giving you the legal representation you deserve. We work with you to determine the best defense strategy and are able to assist with each stage of your case. Contact our conveniently located Atlanta metro area office today to schedule an initial consultation.