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J. Michael Mullis
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Bainbridge, Decatur County Georgia
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SENTENCING & PROBATION in ga


SENTENCING & PROBATION IN GEORGIA

GENERALLY

Sentencing for many criminal offenses, both felony and misdemeanor, often involves probation. Once convicted, a sentence can include straight jail time, straight probation, or a combination of jail and probation.

Straight Jail Time
Straight jail time means you are sentenced to a term of jail time without any probation following. For example, in a plea to a felony drug offense with a possible sentence of 2 to 15 years, assume the judge imposes a 4 year jail sentence. This is straight jail time. No probation is involved. Once your 4 year term is up, you are no longer under any court ordered supervision.

Straight Probation
Straight probation means you are sentenced to a term of probation that includes no jail time. For example, in a plea to a felony drug offense with a possible sentence of 2 to 15 years, assume the judge allows you to serve your entire sentence on probation. If you never violate the terms of your probation, you will never spend one day in jail. One caveat, it is possible to be placed in a State Detention Center as a condition of probation. This confinement usually lasts only a few months. Although technically this is probation and not jail, you are in a State Institution and cannot leave.

Combination of Jail and Probation
A combination of jail and probation is just as it sounds. Using the above example, assume the judge imposes a 4 year sentence with the first 2 years to be served in confinement (jail) and the last 2 years served on probation. Once your jail sentence is up, you will report to your probation officer and serve the remainder of the sentence on probation.

THREE TYPES OF PROBATION

Generally speaking, three types of probation exist. These are

If you are charged with a felony, consult with your attorney to determine if First Offender Probation or Deferred Adjudication is available. If you have a prior felony or if you have already been sentenced as a first time offender, First Offender Probation will not be available.

However, even if you have a prior felony or used first offender, Deferred Adjudication could be available if you are now charged with a drug offense. This is a complicated area and you need to check with your attorney.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF PROBATION

The Georgia Code provides for certain terms and conditions of probation. Judges often add other terms and conditions. Some commons ones are:

  • Perform community service;

  • Banishment from the judicial circuit;

  • Payment of restitution;

  • Stay away from certain persons or places;

  • Ignition interlock device required on you vehicle;

  • Home confinement;

  • Drug testing and/or treatment

Keep in mind that this is not a complete list. Judges often have fertile and creative minds when it comes to imposition of terms and conditions.
 

PROBATION REVOCATIONS

If you commit a new offense or fail to do something that is required of you, your probation officer will probably issue a warrant to revoke your probation.

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Content 2002-2011 J. Michael Mullis, Attorney at Law