Category Archives: Criminal Defense

Failure to Merge Criminal Law Charges May Lead to Vacating the Conviction

Georgia Supreme Court Rules on Complaint of Failure to Merge Criminal Law Charges

The United States is a nation built on laws intended to maintain order within our society. When someone breaks the law, justice is meted out. It sounds so simple, but most crime is not that cut and dried, and it’s in the gray areas that the challenge to the law arises, because while society demands justice, even those convicted of violent crime have rights. The struggle to balance those rights sometimes raises questions that layer over one another.

In 2009, 57 year old Daisy Pearl Brown of Swainsboro, Georgia, was fatally stabbed in her home. Her tenant, Michael Alvin Reddings, called 911 to report her death. Emergency responders found the door to her trailer had been forced open, blood spatters throughout the house, and the victim in the bathroom, dead from six stab wounds in the head, neck, torso, and back. Wounds to her hands were consistent to typical defense injuries, indicating that Ms. Brown had tried to prevent her death.

Mr. Reddings was ultimately convicted of murder, aggravated assault, and two weapons possession counts and sentenced to life without parole, followed by 5 years (consecutive) for the first weapons count and 25 years (concurrent) for the second. He filed a motion for a new trial, which was denied. He then appealed that denial to the Georgia Supreme Court, claiming trial court reversible error. His motion contended that the court erred when it denied his request for a change of venue, and again when it failed to merge the assault conviction and the murder conviction.

Vacating Conviction Strengthens Georgia Criminal Law Defense

On February 4th, 2013, The Supreme Court upheld Redding’s murder conviction and found no abuse of discretion concerning venue, but it vacated the sentence on one of his weapons charges as well as the conviction of aggravated assault. While this ruling does not set aside Mr. Reddings’ murder conviction, it does strengthen the law on merges, oftentimes a crucial approach in a Georgia criminal defense lawsuit.

Citing numerous supporting decisions, including Drinkard v. Walker (2006), Coleman v. State (2009) and Grell v. State (2012) and referring to OCGA § 16-1-7 (a), which establishes double jeopardy protection, prohibiting multiple convictions (and punishments) for the same offense, the Justices found that the Court had erred when it did not merge the charges.

There was an exception, however, that the Justices also considered and addressed: separate convictions are allowed in instances of a “deliberate interval” between a non-fatal injury and the fatal injury, as found in Coleman, 286 Ga. at 295 (3), Ortiz v. State, 291 Ga. 3 (3) (727 SE2d 103) (2012), and Lowe v. State, 267 Ga. 410 (1) (b) (478 SE2d 762) (1996), but the Court found that it was impossible to establish which of Ms. Brown’s injuries were inflicted first or even the order of each occurrence. Thus, evidence of a “deliberate interval” between the injuries could not be proven, and Reddings’ aggravated assault conviction and the associated weapons possession conviction were vacated.

Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you’re facing a criminal charge in Georgia, you need an experienced attorney on your side. Call Atlanta criminal defense attorney Lisa Wells today for legal help.

Your Rights During An Arrest

According to our federal government, the three categories of crimes are infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. An infraction is a minor crime such as a traffic ticket resulting in payment of a fine. A misdemeanor is more serious than an infraction, and may require jail time of less than a year in addition to a fine. A felony is the worst kind of crime such as rape or murder. Crimes are established at the local, state, and federal levels and laws differ from state to state.

Other factors that are considered in determining proper punishment are criminal history, and the manner in which the crime was committed. The judge will consider aggravating circumstances such as cruelty, malice, intent, reckless disregard for the well-being of another, and if the act was committed against a protected class such as a minority, senior citizen, minor, or a handicapped person.

The United States has laws to protect you if you are accused of a crime and arrested. In 1966 The Supreme Court ruled in the case Miranda v. Arizona that police must read the suspects their rights before arresting them. These are the words we have all heard so many times on television and in the movies: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to consult an attorney before speaking to the police and to have an attorney present during questioning now or in the future. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. If you decide to answer questions now without an attorney present, you will still have the right to stop answering at any time until you talk to an attorney.” Also, the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects us from illegal search and seizure by police. They must be able to prove probable cause that you committed a crime before a search. This protects your right to privacy. If police fail to follow proper procedures during your arrest, a good criminal defense lawyer will be able to prove violation of your rights.

Brian Banks, a former high school football star, spent six years in prison and was monitored for another four years after his release. He was falsely accused of kidnapping and rape and was recently exonerated. If you are accused of a crime and arrested, it is imperative that you remain silent until you can talk to a qualified, experienced Georgia criminal defense attorney . Contact Lisa Wells for a consultation immediately.

A Cobb County DUI Defense Attorney Offers A Word of Caution to Spring Breakers

Spring Break is a rite of passage for many high school seniors and college students, a time to celebrate after months of hard studies. It can be a great memory of bonding with fellow classmates or a heartbreaking and life changing catastrophe for those who lose focus and drive drunk in the midst of the revelry, since DUI charges are taken seriously in Georgia courts.

Students, underage partiers, and parents should take such charges seriously, as well. A DUI conviction may result in loss of driving privileges, possible jail time, heavy fines, hours of unpaid community service work, legal expenses, cost of counseling, and may affect ongoing education or future employability.

Don’t leave your brain at school. Common sense and some pre-planning can ensure a fun and safe break from the schoolwork grind. Those who manage their alcohol intake rather than letting it manage them, know this and use these tricks to party safely, slow their alcohol intake, and act responsibly:

1. Select your designated driver before heading out. Show your appreciation by picking up the cost of parking, gas, or food and non-alcoholic beverages, if you can afford it. Other ways to show your appreciation are detailing the driver’s car afterward or volunteering to be the designated driver for the next time. A simple thank you on a social media website costs nothing and is always appreciated.
2. Designated drivers can sometimes prove unreliable. No matter how much you trust your DD, make sure you have a back up plan, such as writing down the number of a taxi company before heading out for your celebration. As a last resort, those who are too inebriated to drive during the holidays and have no other way to get home safely, should contact a reliable towing service, such as the AAA/Budweiser Light Beer Tow-to-Go program, who will transport the driver (whether member or non-member), a second person, and their car to their home free of charge, within a ten mile radius.
3. While food helps the body absorb alcohol, thus slowing the process, it does not prevent inebriation. Smart Spring Breakers know that food is only one part of the equation.
4. Be slow to start drinking and quick to stop. Responsible adult drinkers set a cut-off point and adhere to it.
5. Sip your drink slowly. Go light on the portions.
6. Alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks.

Drunk driving accidents can result in catastrophic injuries or disfigurement than can last a lifetime. If you caused an accident or injury to an innocent passenger, bystander, other driver, or pedestrian, your rights and interests need to be protected. Don’t trust this important task to an untried lawyer. Lisa Wells, Cobb County DUI defense attorney, has the experience and skill you need.

An Atlanta Drunk Driving Lawyer Urges Those Involved in an Accident to Call Her Office Before Speaking to Others

Too often, a drunk driving accident ends up in wrongful death charges, altering the lives of everyone involved in the accident, as well as their families. When you’ve been charged with DUI injury to others, call an experienced Atlanta drunk driving lawyer before talking with anyone about the accident. How you answer may affect final settlement. No one sets out on a Spring Break week to be involved in a drunk driving accident, but if charges are filed or catastrophic injury occurs, an impaired driving attorney will work hard to protect your rights and interests.

Best Friends Forever? Make it last by doing what you can to keep yourself and your friends safe from the dangers of alcohol, but when you need an experienced Cobb County DUI lawyer, contact criminal defense attorney Lisa Wells for the best in legal representation involving DUI charges.

Georgia Supreme Court Decides Threat of Force Enough for Self Defense Immunity

On October 3, 2011 in State vs. Green the Georgia Supreme Court decided that just the threat of force is all that is required when one reasonably believes that he must defend himself against another’s imminent use of unlawful force. The case involved two men, one a renter and the other his landlord, who shared the same home. The landlord became angry at his tenant while the tenant was preparing to cook a meal and held a butcher knife in his hand. The landlord told the tenant to leave and went to another room to get his tenant’s pre-paid rent. The tenant stood by an exterior door but continued to hold the knife because he did not trust his landlord. The landlord returned and head- butted the other man even though he still held the knife. The butcher knife entered the landlord’s thigh, severing his femoral artery and he died. The Court determined Green would have been justified in using deadly force against his landlord to protect himself, although he was not required to do so in order to be immune from prosecution. In other words, Green exhibited his own threat of force but did not intentionally stab his landlord.

Self Defense Laws in Georgia

The provisions of the Georgia legal code stipulates that a person is justified in using force in self defense or in the defense of another person or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony. However, a person is not considered justified in using force on another person if he first provokes the use of force against himself with the intent to use force as an excuse to inflict bodily harm upon the assailant. Also, if the person is attempting to commit or is fleeing from the committing of a felony or was the aggressor or was engaged in a combat by agreement unless he withdraws from the encounter and effectively communicates to such other person his intent to do so and the other person continues or threatens to continue the use of unlawful force.

Contact An Atlanta Criminal Law Attorney

If you have been charged with unlawful force against another individual while defending yourself, someone else, or while attempting to prevent someone from committing a felony, an experienced Georgia criminal attorney can answer your questions, file motions, and represent you in court. Lisa Wells is ready to defend your rights.

Is Georgia Scout Mom Guilty of Theft by Conversion?

Is an East Point, GA Girl Scout Mom Guilty of Theft by Conversion?

When Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low created the organization in Savannah, Georgia in 1912, she could hardly have imagined the organization it is today. Ranked as the “8th most popular charity/non-profit in America”, the annual cookie sale helps to fund the programs designed to prepare young women for adulthood by building confidence and character. It’s a multi-million dollar business.

Unfortunately, a large part of the annual fundraiser involves untrained adult volunteers who are placed in positions of trust with little to no oversight, potentially exposing them to accusations of theft when funds are unaccounted for. Martinya Deloatch discovered this when troop leader Traci Harden accused her of not delivering cookie sales proceeds to Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta in March as she was supposed to. Deloatch, in charge of collecting the funds and delivering the money, denies the charge, according to a CBS Atlanta report.

But was it Really Theft? Consult With an Experienced Georgia Criminal Law Defense Lawyer

Ms. Deloatch maintains that she handed the funds over to a third party who failed to deliver the funds properly, but she should still consult with an experienced Georgia criminal law defense lawyer for help documenting evidence that backs her claim in order to get charges reduced or dropped altogether.

Theft by Conversion, defined by Georgia Code 16-8-4 as obtaining funds for one purpose and converting them for personal use, carries serious punishment. Ms. Deloatch is accused of stealing nearly $5,000, a felony under Georgia’s recently revised theft statutes. Effective last year, punishment is divided into tiers, based on amount taken and the number of previous offenses: a misdemeanor charge for amounts or value under $1500; differing degrees of felony over that amount. If Ms. Deloatch is convicted, she may face one to five years of incarceration and fines as well as community service and theft class. The judge does, however, have the discretion to treat the crime as a misdemeanor.

Contact Atlanta theft attorney Lisa Wells at the law office of Glenn Loewenthal, P.C. if you’ve been accused of theft in the greater metro Atlanta vicinity. She’ll prepare a persuasive case that explains what really happened based on careful investigation of the alleged incident.

We urge you to seek legal counsel whenever you are accused of a crime of theft. Don’t depend on getting fair treatment from those who are prosecuting you. Their goal is to seek the maximum sentence for your punishment. We’ll attempt to mitigate by introducing extenuating circumstances and other possible explanations. Atlanta criminal defense attorney Lisa Wells takes a personal interest in every case she accepts and her experience with the Clayton County Georgia Office of the District Attorney gives her an insider’s understanding of how to approach a theft defense. Call today and schedule a free consultation to discuss the details of your case and your options.

Accused of Arson in Georgia? You’ll Need a Strong Defense

Was it Arson in Georgia When a Resident Set Fire to His Lawrenceville Master Bedroom or a Case of Domestic Discord?

First-degree arson is a felony with penalties of one to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000, as well as probation, community service or other punishment. Conviction may affect school and employment opportunities as well as tear apart families and other close relationships. Loss of income through incarceration may result in hardship for minor children.

While recognizing that arson is a serious crime, criminal defense attorney Lisa Wells knows that not all fire damage is arson, though, and in cases of deliberately set fires, extenuating factors may point to a temporary lapse in judgment due to emotional outburst rather than criminal intent.

For instance, when Gwinnet County resident Ivan Jaramillo set his Lawrenceville master bedroom on fire, as reported by CBS Atlanta, his motive was pent up anger in response to an argument with his wife, rather than intent to fraudulently collect insurance money or a thrill-seeking pyromaniac. We’ve seen first-hand how insurance companies ignore or bend facts to suit their interests by accusing someone of arson when they file a claim for a fire loss. Don’t you think it’s about time someone looked out after you and your interests?

If You’ve Been Accused of Setting a Fire in Georgia, Contact an Experienced Atlanta Arson Defense Attorney Who Knows How to Fend Off Unwarranted Charges

Defending clients against charges of fraudulent claims involving arson, insurance fraud defense lawyer Lisa Wells of Glenn Loewenthal, P.C. looks for evidence that points to other explanations. Their office also represents individuals who have been wrongfully denied a legitimate insurance claim, protecting you through the process, from your initial police, fire, and insurance statements to final settlement.

Dedicated to fully protecting clients’ rights, Lisa’s office investigates arson claims carefully and does not accept pat answers and explanations at face value.

Whether your claim is through a commercial or a personal lines property policy, or life and/or disability insurance policies, you need the kind of results only an experienced Georgia insurance damage lawyer can deliver. We’ll send out investigators and engineering specialists, communicate on your behalf with the State Fire Marshal’s office and may be able to secure immunity for you. More on Arson Reporting-Immunity Laws can be found on the website. If the fire was an accident, we’ll work hard to prove it.

If you’ve been accused of arson in the state of Georgia, contact Atlanta arson defense attorney Lisa Wells before answering questions or making statements. Doing so could have a serious impact on the outcome of your case. What you (or the police or insurers) believe to be true may prove to be otherwise upon closer scrutiny. We have the experience you need when navigating these tricky waters. How you answer, what you answer, and how you present evidence may decide your guilt or innocence. Don’t take chances with your future. Call us today for a free and confidential consultation.

Is it Time to Reconsider Georgia’s “Seven Deadly Sins” Law?

Bill May Allow Greater Sentencing Flexibility for Those Convicted Under GA’s Seven Deadly Sins Law

Georgia carries out the harshest punishments in the nation for seven crimes: murder, rape, aggravated sexual battery, aggravated sodomy, aggravated child molestation, kidnapping, or armed robbery. The 18-year-old “Seven Deadly Sins” law mandated mandatory sentences that range from ten years to life. One hundred percent of the sentence must be served.

Lawmakers are being asked to take a second look at the law to allow the courts some flexibility in sentencing, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an article that uses the story of Sarah Page Dukes as the catalyst that finally spoke to enough people over growing concerns that the law is too draconian.

Dukes became addicted to heroin in high school, even though she’d been a promising Sutton Middle School star student. As she became more addicted, she began stealing to support her habit, eventually turning to armed robbery. She eventually robbed her former employer’s store, but even he could see that Sarah needed rehabilitation and petitioned the court, pointing out that incarceration would not benefit her or anyone else and would “only insure that Ms. Dukes revert to drug addiction upon her release.”

Ms. Dukes’ plea deal fell through and she was sentenced under Georgia’s Seven Deadly Sins Law: ten years in prison with no possibility of parole. Now drug-free, Sarah has used the time well, having discovered a talent for teaching other inmates, helping them to earn their GEDs.

Accused of One of the “Seven Deadly Sins” in Georgia? Talk to an Atlanta Criminal Defense Attorney

No matter what your stand is on the get-tough law, Georgia taxpayers pay hundreds of millions of dollars to keep convicted felons in prison. When prison budgets (1.1 Billion) strain the State coffers to keep non-violent offenders incarcerated, no-one wins.

If you’ve been accused of one of the 7 deadly sins in Georgia, you need representation from an Atlanta criminal defense attorney with ample experience defending clients accused of a felony crime.

The District Attorney has discretion whether or not to press charges, but his or her job is to seek the maximum punishment for your crime. You need an attorney who knows how to present a convincing argument to the jury while at the same time creating enough question that the DA’s case is based on conjecture and supposition.

Atlanta crime lawyer Lisa Wells works hard to get your charges dropped or reduced to a lesser charge. We’ll hire independent investigators, when necessary, who will re-examine the evidence, including witness statements, and question arrest procedure and the validity of searches, always seeking a “not guilty” verdict.

Don’t give statements or meet with the DA before speaking with defense attorney Lisa Wells. She also assists attorneys from other parts of the state, knowing that a skilled defense team that shares resources is usually able to obtain optimal results. Call today for a free, confidential initial consultation and evaluation of your charges.

Secure a Strong Criminal Defense Attorney When Minor Children are Charged as Adults

In a report by the U.S. Department of Justice on trying a minor as an adult it was found that at the end of the 1990’s and into the early 2000’s there was a spike in juvenile violence that directly impacted changing state transfer laws to their current form where juveniles can be transferred into criminal or adult court. Georgia and nearly every state in the Union expanded the transfer laws to allow, or even require, that minors be prosecuted in the adult criminal court system.

Georgia Minors Prosecuted as Adults

The Frontline Show on juvenile to adult criminal prosecution reports that minors have been involved in 25% of all serious violent crimes committed every year for the past 25-years. To add on to that number it is also estimated that for the last two-decades less than 50% of violent crimes committed by juveniles are even reported to the authorities.

Georgia law allows the decision making authority to transfer from judge to prosecutor and it also replaces the individual discretion that a judge or prosecutor may take on transferring a minor to adult criminal court; the decision is made through use of specific criteria. The term “judicial waiver” is used to indicate that the judge “waives” the juvenile court jurisdiction and passes the case over into the adult criminal court system. It is critical to have legal representation from the start of this process – being judged and sentenced as an adult demands a Georgia criminal defense attorney with a history of successful experience.

Atlanta Juveniles Jailed While They Await Trial

Atlanta juveniles can be jailed with adults while they await their trial in Georgia’s criminal court system. The minimum age for criminal responsibility in Georgia is 12 and a minor of that age may find that they come into direct contact with adults charged with violent crimes while being incarcerated. Once an Atlanta Metro area youth has their case transferred as an adult it is critical to have legal representation from the very start – being judged and sentenced as an adult demands an expert Georgia criminal defense attorney with a history of successful experience be on your family’s side.

Cases of Juveniles Prosecuted as Adults

A highly profiled case was that of Michael Phelps who at 15 was a minor charged as an adult in the shooting of one of his schoolmates in Indiana. Channel 8 Wish TV reported that if he had been trialed as a juvenile his time served would have included a more relaxed atmosphere, school, counseling and having a system goal of rehabilitating back into society. Tried as an adult, Phelps will be held by the Indiana Department of Corrections.

Other publicized cases include Cristian Fernandez who was charged with 1st degree murder of his 2 year old half brother. Cristian is 12 and he faces life without parole if convicted. ABC News reports several cases where the juvenile charges were transferred to the adult criminal court: In Florida three teenagers will be prosecuted for attempted 2nd degree murder when they set another teen on fire over a $40 video game debt. In Texas five teens face adult prosecution and judgment in the brutal beating death of 28 year old Jonathan Bird – he had asked two of the teens to stop driving recklessly on his street – five teens returned and hit and kicked him to death in his own yard. In California all the juveniles arrested for the gang rape of a 15-year old girl outside her high school dance are charged as adults. And in Arizona, police are looking for the two teens that pushed another minor into the road where he was struck by three cars and killed.

The brutality and seriousness of crimes being committed by minors today almost certainly will have the court system transfer these cases for adult criminal prosecution. Call the Atlanta juvenile to adult criminal defense attorney Lisa Wells for a free confidential consultation.

Common Crimes Where Georgia Juveniles Are Often Tried as Adults

While some crimes committed by a minor can go to either juvenile court or to the superior adult court system, there are some criminal acts that are typically tried in the Georgia adult court system; these are:

  • Murder by a minor is often transferred over for adult criminal prosecution
  • Rape
  • Sodomy
  • Child molestation
  • Sexual battery
  • Voluntary manslaughter
  • Armed robbery with the use of a fire arm

Georgia Juvenile to Adult Criminal Defense Attorneys

Call your Atlanta juvenile to adult criminal defense lawyer for the experience and knowledge you need – Lisa Wells has a successful record defending not only adults charged with a crime, but in keeping serious criminal charges made against a minor in the juvenile court system using all legal channels and regulations available to her.

Call Lisa Wells your Atlanta crime lawyer for a free confidential meeting to begin the strategy and foundation of your juvenile to adult criminal charges.

Georgia in Top 10 of White Collar Crime Prosecutions

White collar crime which was first coined in 1939 has become a far reaching and growing collection of frauds that are committed by both business and government professionals. The FBI defines white collar crimes as illegal acts that involve deceit, concealment or violation of trust which are not dependent on the use of threat, force or violence. The end purpose of white collar crimes are to obtain money, property, services or to secure a financial advantage in both personal and business arenas.

Federal Criminal Code Includes Large Variety of White Collar Crimes

The FBI reports that white collar crimes include fraud, bribery, Ponzi schemes, forgery, money laundering, identify theft, embezzlement, insider trading, cyber crimes and copyright infringement. Prosecution of white collar crimes also often involves numerous federal statutes such as mail or wire fraud, health care fraud, and bank fraud to name a few.

Investigation of Georgia white collar crimes indicate that fraud schemes today are often highly sophisticated and require specially trained white collar and forensic agents to uncover the crime. Large scale white collar crimes that made headlines include the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme, which cost investors 65-billion dollars and devastated families who lost all of their life savings in a well executed white collar scam.

Examples of Common Georgia White Collar Fraud

Anyone can fall victim to white collar crime. In Georgia white collar crime has significantly jumped in numbers of white collar crime per capita to make it into 2 places in the top 10 states in the nation for percentage of white collar crimes committed per population. Some of the more common white collar schemes and fraud are:

  • Identity Theft
  • Disaster Relief Fraud
  • Cyber or Internet Scams
  • Mortgage Fraud
  • Securities and Commodities Fraud
  • Health Care Fraud
  • Frauds specific to senior citizens
  • Work at home scams
  • Illegal Pharmacies
  • Social Security Card Fraud
  • Adoption Scams
  • And the list could continue with dozens and dozens of other white collar crime

Cobb County White Collar Crime Continues to Rise

The State of Georgia’s white collar crime rates have been rising as a fast pace. A report from April of 2013 places southern and middle Georgia in the 3rd and 10th place in terms of recording the largest number of prosecutions per capita. The Southern Georgia district had 1,067 prosecutions per capita in April 2013, where just one year ago, there were only 79 prosecutions per capita. Middle Georgia district shows 545 prosecutions per capital this past April, compared to 77 prosecutions per capita one year ago.

Atlanta White Collar Crimes More Damaging Than Conventional Crimes

The Georgia Municipal Association “Viewpoints,” report that while most people only focus on the financial damage that is caused by Georgia white collar crime, there is often physical harm that far exceeds the death and injury numbers from street crime.

For example, the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that 10-times as many deaths occur from preventable hospital error than are murdered on the streets of the U.S.every year. Two other examples show that almost 30 million American citizens are injured every year from defective products, and that more deaths and injury are reported from environmental crime then those killed or injured as a result of street crime.

Georgia White Collar Crime Attorney

If you have been indicted or are about to be charged for your involvement in a Georgia white collar crime you need to seek the services of the Atlanta white collar crime attorney Lisa Wells who brings her expertise with all types of white collar crime to represent you through all phases of this complex Federal and State legal process.

Having a knowledgeable and highly experienced criminal lawyer on your side before any legal charges may be made provides for proper legal preparation to protect your interests and your rights. Do not provide any information that could be incriminating before retaining the attorney who has had successful experience specific to Marietta white collar crime.

Make the call to Lisa Wells, Cobb County white collar crime lawyer to discuss current or possible future legal ramifications of your case.

Atlanta Probation Violation Results in Severe Consequences

In the State of Georgia the judge can sentence probation when convicted for any local city, county, or state law. Probation can be sentenced for any type of crime from common ordinance charge, misdemeanor and felony crime. Depending on the crime, past history of arrests and convictions, obligations to meet, employment demands or primary caregiver roles, the judge may sentence you to a lesser period of time incarcerated and ordering probation for the remainder of the sentence.

State and National Probation Statistics

The National Congress of State Legislatures report that at least 35% of all state prison admissions are offenders who were locked up in jail due to parole or probation violations, not for new crimes committed. In the United States the Bureau of Justice Statistics state the total number of those in a supervised probation violation program exceeds 4-million offenders. In the State of Georgia, there are over 500,000 adults on probation at any given moment.

Probation Violation a Serious Offense

There are two ways to violate your court mandated probation. The first way is to commit a new offense which is called a substantive violation. The second way, a technical violation, can be for a simple reason such as a missed payment or a missed appointment. If you are arrested while you are on probation call a Georgia probation violation attorney before you admit or confess to anything – expert legal direction is an absolute must in order to avoid maximum sentencing.

A probation violation court hearing will allow the judge to review the offense to decide if you knowingly violated your probation. You have already been convicted of a crime, so the court review typically includes new sentencing, modified probation restrictions, community service, “house arrest,” or any number of new court ordered sanctions. If you are being charged with a new crime you need a lawyer with a successful history of defending you for both the new case as well as for the current probation violation hearing

Four Main Categories of Atlanta Probation Violation

While there are 2 ways to violate your probation, substantive and technical violations, there are 4 main categories for Georgia probation violations.

  • Technical Violation: A technical violation of probation means that no new crime of offense was committed, however, the requirements and conditions of your sentence are not followed as ordered; this type usually includes failure to report, failure to pay fines. Maximum punishment for this type of violation is a probation revocation for up to 2-years of incarceration.
  • Misdemeanor Violation: A crime classified as a misdemeanor is committed while on probation. While the maximum punishment for this type of probation violation is 2-years of jail time, a new separate case will be filed against you, where even if you are not convicted of the new misdemeanor, you will still be found in fault of Georgia probation violation and must undergo sentencing adjustments.
  • Felony Violation: This category of a substantive violation where a felony offense is committed while on probation. In this case the probation violation penalty is to revoke the entire balance of the probation, to be sentenced to the maximum time that could be given on a felony charge, or be sent to jail. Even if the felony charge is dismissed or you are found to be not-guilty, under the law you can still have your probation revoked just because you were charged in the first place.
  • Special Condition Violation: This violation pertains to a basic rule of probation, deemed special under the law as the court rules the violation or offense was committed in such a fashion that it required more stringent penalties. Convicted of this charge includes probation revocation to time served in prison to the maximum degree of punishment.

Additional Georgia Probation Violation Penalties

Retain legal counsel right away when initially charged with a probation violation to direct the negotiation for charge reduction or modification. In addition to the penalties based on the type of violation, the judge is able to add on additional punishments as they see fit. Examples of add-on punishments include:

  • Electronic monitoring
  • Community Service
  • Up to 2-years in jail for a technical violation
  • Sentenced to time at a probation revocation detention center
  • Court ordered residential substance abuse treatment program
  • Assignment to Department of Corrections’ Day Reporting Center
  • Additional penalties and sentencing as the Judge directs

Atlanta Probation Violation Criminal Defense Attorney

For whatever reason you find yourself facing a Georgia probation violation charge, it is imperative to make contact with a lawyer who has a successful history of criminal defense of probation violations. In Georgia probation violation penalties are often severe and under no circumstance should any offender face the judge without proper counsel.

Make that all important call to Atlanta’s probation violation and criminal defense attorney Lisa Wells. She will fight for probation modification, reinstating probation without penalty, and to achieve the best possible outcome.