Probation Violation

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Misdemeanor Probation: Georgia House Approves Bill to Reform Misdemeanor Probation

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As many of my clients know, traffic court probation is another word for not having the money to pay your fines and fees.  Many people eventually end up paying far more for minor criminal charges or traffic violations then others who can pay their fines and fees on the day of court.  In addition, those who cannot pay usually end up facing a real jail sentence over a few hundred dollars.

 

“The House Judiciary Non-Civil committee approved. The bill would address a wide range of concerns about Georgia’s misdemeanor probation system.The House Judiciary Non-Civil committee approved House Bill 310. The bill would address a wide range of concerns about Georgia’s misdemeanor probation system.”

Misdemeanor Probation Violations Thrown Out by Georgia Supreme Court

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The Georgia Supreme Court, in a sweeping legal opinion, declared all misdemeanor probation violation were invalid if they time the court originally sentenced Defendants to had passed.  In Georgia, it has been, and likely will be again soon, a common practice of tolling probationers sentences if and when a warrant is issued by their court and they are unable to be located.  Tolling is another word for pausing.  If your sentence is tolled then you are no longer receiving credit for your sentence and are no longer getting closer to no longer having the court’s authority controlling your liberty and decisions.

In SENTINEL OFFENDER SVCS., LLC v. Glover et al, 766 S.E.2d 456, Supreme Court of Georgia, this practice was stopped.

Specifically the court found “We agree with the trial court that under current Georgia statutes, the tolling of a misdemeanor probationer’s sentence is not permitted. ‘Statutes providing for the suspension of a sentence or the probation of a defendant must be strictly followed.’  As found above, courts utilizing probation systems established pursuan are specifically precluded from applying the provisions of the State-wide Probation Act, including those pertaining to tolling, to the defendants they sentence and we find no other grounds for such activity under Georgia statutory law. Unlike the statutes governing the supervision of felony probationers by the state DOC, there is no statute governing misdemeanor probationers which specifically authorizes the tolling of a probationer’s sentence. Rather, with respect to a misdemeanor conviction, sentences are fixed at one year and once a sentence has been served, jurisdiction over the defendant ceases.