Southeast Corrections and its employees operate in a manner consistent with O.C.G.A § 42-8-100 through § 42-8-117. Probation is a privilege that is ordered at the discretion of the Court. We have assembled a number of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) to assist you in your successful completion of probation across the State of Georgia.
Q. How long will I be required to remain on probation?
A. The length of your sentence is established by the Court. Most misdemeanor offenses in Georgia provide for a maximum penalty of 12 months in confinement, with a fine not greater than $1,000. There are some high and aggravated misdemeanors that provide for greater penalties. If you are sentenced to probation for numerous offenses, the Court has the discretion to order sentences to run consecutively, or after one another, increasing the length of probation supervision beyond 12 months.
Q. Is there a possibility of being released from probation earlier than the end of the term of the order if I complete all of the conditions required?
A. Early terminations are approved and ordered by the Court. The possibility of early termination will be made clear as a part of the probation order and explained to you fully by your probation officer.
Q. How often will the probation officer require me to report?
A. The frequency of reporting may be established by the Court and/or your probation officer. However, most probationers report in-person, once per month. Telephone reporting is permissible with the approval of the Court when travel, medical or other circumstances exist.
Q. What if something happens and I miss an appointment with my probation officer?
A. Reporting as directed is critical to the successful completion of your probation. However, it is best to notify your probation officer in advance, if at all possible barring emergency circumstances, of any missed appointment. If you are unable to reach the probation officer prior to missing the appointment, you should contact them immediately afterwards and make arrangements to reschedule. There are circumstances where a missed appointment may result in a request for a warrant for your arrest by the probation officer, so it is critical that you make reporting your highest priority.
Q. Will I be required to pay a fine?
A. You may or may not be required to pay a fine. The Court will determine any fine amount and make it a part of the order of probation. In addition to base fines, there are a number of State-required surcharge fund obligations in addition to the base fine. The probation officer will explain the total, including surcharges to you.
Q. What forms of payment do you accept?
A. We request that all payments be made in the form of a money order. There is little, if any, cash on hand at the probation office for security reasons. You may keep your money order stub for future reference, in addition to the printed receipt you will receive at the payment window. There is a credit card payment option available and instructions are provided on our website under Online Payments.
Q. If I don’t have all of the money at the time I’m placed on probation, what do I do?
A. You will be allowed to make monthly payments during the term of the probation. Exactly how much time you will be allowed in which to pay is subject to policy established by the Court. It is important to note that you must report as instructed regardless of whether you are able to present your full monthly payment at each visit or not. Technical non-compliance matters may be resolved through administrative hearings as long as the probationer reports as directed and maintain communication with their probation officer.
Q. Will I have to submit to alcohol and drug testing while in the program?
A. All probation conditions are established by the Court. If you are required to submit to alcohol and/or drug testing, you will be responsible for the cost of the tests. The frequency of screening is clearly communicated between the Court, probation officer and probationer. Testing is generally random, but can be required on demand. Penalties for failed drug tests vary.
Q. What happens if I fail an alcohol or drug test?
A. The use of alcohol and/or other substances, both legal and illegal as ordered, may result in a modification or revocation of your order of probation. The Court has a number of options at its disposal, ranging from required evaluations and treatment, to revocation of your sentence to be served in confinement for technical violations of your probation.
Q. What about other conditions? How long do I have to complete them and do I have to pay for them?
A. All conditions are ordered by the Court. The amount of time you are afforded to complete conditions will be explained clearly to you by your probation officer in keeping with Court policy and certain State-required time constraints. The probationer is required to pay for any costs associated with probation conditions. Your probation officer will assist you in providing you information on how to access all approved program providers.
Q. If I successfully complete probation, will I have a conviction on my permanent criminal history?
A. Unless you are granted First Offender or Conditional Discharge status at the time of your sentencing, your conviction will remain on your permanent criminal history. There may be remedies after the time of sentencing, but it would most likely require the assistance of counsel to modify the status of your plea of guilty.
Q. What happens if I fail to complete all of the conditions in time or if I am arrested for another offense while I’m in the probation?
A. Technical violations and/or any new arrests or convictions may result in the modification or revocation of your probation. Probation violations are a serious matter. The maximum penalty you face for any violation of probation is the service of your remaining time on probation in confinement.
Q. What if I was arrested? Will anyone be able to find out about that when I apply for jobs in the future?
A. The Court will state on the order of probation whether or not you are eligible to have your arrest expunged (O.C.G.A. § 35-3-37(d) – arrest prior to July 1, 2013) or restricted (O.C.G.A. § 35-3-27(h) – arrest on or after July 1, 2013). If you are allowed either form of arrest restriction, your probation officer will provide you with specific information on how to begin the process upon completion of your probation.
Q. What is the process for filing a complaint if I cannot satisfactorily resolve an issue with my probation officer?
A. Our goal is to help you satisfactorily complete your term of probation. If you are having an issue that you cannot resolve satisfactorily, you should ask to speak with the supervisor of the office where you are reporting. You will be asked to complete a very short form that details the nature of your problem and the resolution that you would like to see implemented. The local supervisor will review your complaint and speak with you personally. Please understand that due to schedules it may take up to 72 hours to process your request and speak with you personally. If you still feel that your complaint has not been properly addressed, you may then send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your complaint will be reviewed by a company executive who will speak with you personally as soon as practically possible; typically, within 72 hours.