Probation is a type of sanction imposed instead of a prison sentence, and
it requires you to abide by specific rules and restrictions as part of
your sentence. You must meet with a "probation officer" regularly
who will monitor progress and ensure you comply with all terms and conditions
required by the judge. Think of these probation officers as adult babysitters.
They are there to make sure you take care of doing everything the court
asks you to do. In addition, you are expected to remain free of new arrests.
A violation of probation can result in you being incarcerated.
Probation in Georgia is divided into two types:
misdemeanor probation and
felony probation. Most criminal cases are resolved with probation instead of jail time,
which means most people in the criminal court system are on probation.
Types of Probation in Georgia for Criminal Cases
There are two types of probation available in the Georgia criminal justice
system. These are
Supervised probation is quite standard. You are required to report to a
probation officer at least once a month. You will take a drug and alcohol
test, usually by peeing in a cup and pay your probation officer supervision
fees and fines. The probation officer will check that you are keeping
your part of the bargain by abiding by all conditions ordered by the Judge.
You repeat this process every month until the end of your sentence.
Unsupervised probation usually occurs in a felony case after about six
months of reporting and almost always happens after two years of probation.
Some counties in Georgia allow for unsupervised probation for misdemeanor
cases. Unsupervised probation is when you no longer have to meet with
a probation officer face-to-face. You still have obligations, though,
such as fines and court fees you must pay on time. Typically, to even
be considered for unsupervised probation, you need to satisfy and complete
all conditions of probation; this includes community service, required
classes and evaluations, and the payment of any outstanding restitution.
You should speak to your probation officer as soon as you complete all
the required conditions to see if they agree to move you to unsupervised
How Much Does Probation Cost in Georgia?
Probation costs generally range from $15 to $50 per month, depending on
the supervision level you are placed on. City courts, also called Municipal
Courts, may have their own probation companies that charge a higher fee.
You must be aware that probation supervision fees are not fines! They
are entirely separate and found on your sentence sheet. Probation supervision
costs are important to consider because they are sometimes never mentioned
by the judge but could add another $600 per year to your sentence!
Can You Leave the State of Georgia While on Probation?
Generally, you cannot leave the state while on felony probation. Most criminal
sentences contain language under the heading "General Conditions
Here is a quick video that discusses the General Conditions of any probation sentence. It contains
explicit language prohibiting traveling and moving outside of the county
and the state of Georgia. You must ask your probation officer to leave
the state, even for a trip to Disney World, a cruise, or moving for college!
If travel is a necessity, contact your Probation Officer and ask whether
or not it's allowed.
What are the Standard Conditions Of Probation?
A "condition of probation" or requirement imposed by the Court
Passing random drug and alcohol screens;
Refraining from possession or use of alcohol;
Not associate with known criminals;
Not leave the county (misdemeanor probation) without permission of your
Attending a drug and alcohol evaluation and complying with any recommended
Taking DUI or Drug classes;
Work faithfully toward suitable employment;
Provide medical care to your dependents;
Avoid injurious and vicious habits and harmful character;
No contact with the alleged victim or victim's school and employment;
If a sex offense, you may not go to where minors congregate;
If a sex offense, you may be restricted from a specified location or having
What is a Probation Violation?
A probation violation is any action taken against the terms or conditions
of your probation. It could be failing a drug test, failing to report
to your probation officer, associating with known criminals who are convicted
felons, leaving the county without permission, or any number of different
actions. Of course, committing a new crime is called a "substantive
violation" and is grounds for your probation officer to seek an immediate
warrant for your arrest. While probation officers generally do not put
people in jail for failing to pay their court-ordered fines, it could
happen if it is considered a willful violation.
If you violate probation, the judge could sentence you to jail or prison
time based on the seriousness of your violation. And the length of time
will be whatever is left on probation. For example, let's say you
are on misdemeanor probation, and it is for a total of 12 months. If you
violate probation on month 2 for a positive drug test, the judge could
put you back in jail for the remaining ten months of probation! This is
when you want to speak with an attorney!
What is the Actual Georgia Law for Felony and Misdemeanor Probation?
Like me, you want to read the actual law that applies to both misdemeanor
and felony probation sentences. As of 2021, the Georgia law is
O.C.G.A. Section 42-8-35 code ann.
How do I Apply for Early Termination of my Probation Case?
This is one of the questions I get asked the most. To have your probation
terminated, you must first complete all of the original conditions imposed
by the judge and the probation officer. You should have this done without
the probation officer reminding you. To terminate probation, you have
to get the probation officer to agree, the prosecutor to agree, and ultimately,
the judge to agree. Then, we can file a motion to terminate probation,
and you will go in front of the judge to explain why you are worthy of
coming off government supervision. You should bring all of your treatment
completion certificates for any sort of rehabilitation you did if this
were a drug offense or DUI case, as well as all drug testing certificates
and a summary of the completed conditions. Finally, you want to prepare
a statement to read to the judge as to why he can trust you to lead a
productive life rather than go back to being friends with those with disreputable
or harmful character and individuals convicted of crimes. You should also
be ready to explain the financial burden that probation has on you.
In conclusion, probation is relatively easy, so long as you comply with
the conditions of probation. While it is expensive, it is a much better
alternative to jail as long as you know the costs ahead of time. The best
advice if you find yourself in this situation is to
contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after you get arrested so that if you end up on probation,
it can be for the shortest time possible and with the least amount of