How Hearsay Rules Apply in a Probation Revocation Hearing
If you are on probation for an offense in Georgia, your probation comes with certain conditions. If you are accused of violating your probation, the judge may be able to revoke your probation and sentence you to jail time if the state can show that you violated the conditions of your probation by a preponderance of the evidence. It is important that you have an experienced attorney by your side to protect your rights during your probation revocation hearing.
The rules of evidence still apply in a probation revocation hearing, including how the State may use hearsay statements to prove that you are guilty of violating your probation if a witness is unavailable to testify to the facts that prove the violation.
In a recent Georgia Court of Appeals decision, Grimes v. State, the defendant was accused of violating the conditions of his probation in Henry County when he allegedly made violent contact with individuals he had been ordered to stay away from as a condition of his probation. Rather than calling the alleged victim to testify during the hearing, the State relied on the testimony of a responding police officer and the alleged victim’s 911 call to relay the information needed to prove that the defendant had violated his probation.
The Court of Appeals held that this testimony was hearsay and should not have been admitted during the hearing because it violated the defendant’s constitutional right to due process. The Court of Appeals instructed that the trial court should have, at a minimum, looked into the reasons for the alleged victim’s absence. Additionally, the Court of Appeals held that the hearsay testimony was not reliable because it did not fit into any of the exceptions to the hearsay rule.
If you are on probation and are being accused of violating the conditions of your probation, it is important to have an attorney by your side who understands the rules of the process. At W. Scott Smith, our attorneys specialize in protecting the constitutional rights of our clients. If you are facing a probation revocation hearing, call our office at 404-581-0999 for a free consultation.