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Criminal defense: How does probation work?
Probation and parole are two features of the correctional system in the United States that are often confused by people in Georgia and elsewhere. Parole is typically granted after a period of incarceration while probation provides the opportunity for convicted offenders to escape serving part or all of a jail sentence. The latter is often sought after by legal counsel as part of the criminal defense proceedings because it will allow those offenders to continue living in their communities.
When the judge includes a period of probation in a sentence, restrictions will be specified. The state-administered probation agency will provide supervision of probationers, to ensure that court-ordered restrictions are followed. Noncompliance with conditions could lead to probation being revoked. When the court orders active supervision, the probationer will be required to report to the agency as ordered.
The probation order could include restrictions on the place of residence, the use of alcohol or drugs, possession of weapons and firearms, and even relationships and personal acquaintances. The court can also order substance abuse or psychological counseling, and restitution to be paid to crime victims along with payments of fines. Those on probation will probably not have the protection of the Fourth Amendment during any searches and seizures by law enforcement.
Georgia courts have a significant range of latitude when probation conditions are imposed, typically based upon the severity of the crime. The court could also require proof of compliance with probation conditions from time to time. With so much at stake, it makes sense to retain the services of an experienced Georgia criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after being arrested.