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New GA Law Makes it Possible for Residents on Probation to Receive Early Release

Georgia Senate Bill 105 would automatically make people who have completed three years of felony probation sentences and reached certain milestones eligible for an early termination of probation hearing.

Long prison sentences do more harm than good; they are costly to taxpayers and cause untold suffering for incarcerated people and their families, and while probation seems less costly and less painful on the surface, it is not a perfect solution. A minor mistake can lead to your probation being extended or worse; judges have great flexibility to impose draconian and arbitrary terms, so that you are constantly living in fear of going back to prison. Lengthy probation sentences are a waste of resources both for people serving them and for the state. A law that has just passed both houses of Georgia’s legislature would spare many thousands of defendants the nightmare of an interminable probation. If you are currently suffering at the whims of probation officers and judges, contact an Atlanta criminal defense lawyer.

Senate Bill 105 Provides Much Needed Reforms to Georgia’s Probation System

More people are currently serving probation sentences in Georgia, the eighth most populous state, than in any other state. In every county, the probability that any given Black man is on probation is at least twice as likely as for any given White man, and in some counties, that probability is as much as eight times as high. Meanwhile, many states have enacted policies that enable people to terminate their probation in a timely manner, but Georgia, as usual, has been a latecomer to this trend. According to Rep. Tyler Paul Smith, “over-supervision has a negative impact,” meaning that staying on probation for more than a few years makes it harder, instead of easier, to stay on the right side of the law.

Senate Bill 105 would automatically allow people serving felony probation sentences to begin the process of terminating their supervision as soon as the following conditions are present:

  • The individual has completed at least three years of probation.
  • The person has not gotten any new convictions during the probation period.
  • The probation has not been revoked for technical reasons in the past 24 months.
  • If the court ordered the defendant to pay restitution, the defendant has paid it.

The person’s probation would not automatically end as soon as these conditions were fulfilled. Instead, the person would have to go before a judge, who would have the final decision about whether to end the person’s probation early. Despite this, Senate Bill 105 is much more expansive than Senate Bill 174, a probation reform law enacted in 2017.

Contact Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyers About Probation Issues

A criminal defense lawyer can help you avoid probation, but if a probation sentence is inevitable or the lesser of two evils, your criminal defense lawyer can help you complete it successfully. Contact the defense lawyers at Ghanayem & Rayasam in Atlanta, Georgia about probation cases.