What is a Probation Revocation Hearing?
In Georgia, those who are found guilty of a criminal offense are often given the chance to fulfill their sentence, but to avoid incarceration. This is known as probation and it requires individuals to comply with certain terms and special conditions for a specific period of time. If those terms are violated, then the probationer could face jail time. Before a judge decides to revoke probation, however, the court will hold a probation revocation hearing, where the defendant will have the opportunity to defend him or herself against the allegations.
Terms and Conditions of Probation
Those who are sentenced to probation in Georgia are allowed to live freely, albeit under the supervision of a probation officer. As a part of this arrangement, probationers must comply with certain conditions, such as:
- Regularly reporting to the probation officer assigned to the case;
- Submitting to alcohol or drug testing;
- Submitting to randomly scheduled home searches;
- Participating in community service;
- Maintaining steady employment;
- Obtaining counseling;
- Refraining from contact with certain places or individuals;
- Paying restitution to a victim; and
- Refraining from committing other criminal offenses.
A person can violate these rules in one of two ways. The first is known as a technical violation and occurs when a person violations a specific condition of probation. Substantive violations, on the other hand, occur when a probationer actually commits another crime while still on probation. Whatever type of violation a person is accused of committing, the results of that violation could be a revocation of probation.
If a probation officer believes that an individual has violated the terms of probation, then he or she can issue a warrant for the person’s arrest and initiate a revocation hearing. At these hearings, a judge will examine the probationer’s alleged offense and choose whether to:
- Enforce additional penalties; or
- Revoke probation and sentence a person to jail time.
Unlike criminal trials, where the burden of proof for the state is high, probation revocation hearings only require that the prosecutor prove that it is more likely than not that a defendant violated the terms of probation. At this time, the defendant will also be given the opportunity to defend him or herself against the allegations. It’s important to note that the rules of evidence are a bit different for probation revocation hearings, with the admissibility of evidence left largely up to the discretion of the judge. Hearsay, however, is typically not permitted. Fortunately, an experienced Georgia probation violation lawyer will be well-versed in the types of evidence that can be used to help a defendant avoid probation revocation.
Cobb County Probation Violation Lawyer
In Georgia, those who are accused of violating the terms of their probation could end up facing jail time. Before this happens, however, defendants have the right to challenge the accusations made against them with the help of an attorney. To get started on your own defense, please call experienced Cobb County probation violation attorney Andrew L. Schwartz, P.C. at 678-853-2500 today.