A Quick Guide to Probation Revocations

Probation revocations in Georgia can be daunting for even your most seasoned criminal defense attorneys.  As I tell many of our clients when you are on probation it is like having one foot in the street and one foot in the jail.  Any little misstep can cause an over eager probation officer to file a petition to revoke your probation and place you in jail or prison. 

Two important aspects.

Two important aspects to mention when it comes to a probation revocation: first, the burden of proof on the state is much lower than in a criminal trial.  In a criminal trial the burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt – meaning any doubt that is reasonable requires a jury to acquit.  In probation revocation hearings the standard is preponderance of evidence.  Preponderance is a much lower standard.  Nonetheless, the government must prove you violated your probation.  Secondly, unlike a trial, the judge and not a jury sits as trier of fact.  This is important because instead of getting 12 reasonable minds to decide your case the judge himself or herself decides. 

Your options.

If your probation is being revoked because you were arrested for a new crime you actually have some options to avoid being revoked.  First, the State is obligated to prove you committed a new crime.  This means under Georgia law the probation officer must bring in competent evidence you actually committed a new crime.  Thus, if you have not been yet found guilty, the State must bring in actual live witnesses to the courtroom on the day your revocation is scheduled to testify to the new crime. 

If you have already been found guilty, the State is obligated to bring in certified copies of disposition showing you were found guilty.  In my experience, the best strategy is to put the new offense off as along as possible and to have the probation revocation after you go to trial on the new offense.  As discussed above, the standard of proof is different, but there is something to be said if you are exonerated on the new charges and those new charges are the basis of the Georgia probation revocation.

Call us today for your free consultation at 404-581-0999. We will hear the details of your case and provide you with expert legal advice. Don’t gamble on your freedom.