Effective July 1, 2017, Georgia law provides a greater incentive for compliance with probation for first offenders. O.C.G.A. §17-10-1(B) mandates that upon sentencing a first felony conviction with an entirely probated sentence, the Court must set a behavior incentive date. Those defendants who are receiving a split sentence, meaning part in confinement and part on probation, are not eligible to receive the mandatory behavior incentive date. A BID can not be any longer than 3 years from the start of the sentence but can be earlier.
To Benefit from a BID and be eligible to have one’s Probation Terminated Early the Probationer MUST
· Not have been arrested for anything other than a non-serious traffic offense (as defined in O.C.G.A. §35-3-37 and explained below)
· Have been compliant with all general and special conditions of probation imposed within the sentence
· Have paid all restitution owed (if any)
If a probationer meets all the requirements, then the Department of Community Supervision must submit the case back to the court within 60 days after the BID along with a proposed order to terminate the probation.
Within 30 days of the submission of the Department of Community Supervision’s order, either the State’s prosecutor or the judge can request a hearing. The purpose, standard and issues for such hearing are not defined by the statute, however the Court is authorized to take whatever action, “it determines would be for the best interest of justice and welfare of society.”
A Non-Serious Traffic Offense:
A non-serious traffic violation is any offense set out in the Motor Vehicle Title (Title 40) of the Georgia Code other than the serious violations set out in Article 15 of Chapter 6 of the Title 40.
Serious Traffic Violation Include:
· Reckless driving
· Aggressive driving
· Homicide by vehicle
· Feticide by vehicle
· Serious injury by vehicle
· Fleeing and attempting to elude a law enforcement officer
· Impersonating a law enforcement officer
· Homicide by interference with a traffic control device/railroad sign or signal
· Serious injury by interference with a traffic control device/railroad sign or signal
What if you arrested for a charge but the charge is dismissed?
As the law is written, a mere arrest is a disqualifier against the benefit of a BID. However, in such a case, a court could still exercise discretion to modify or terminate the probated sentence.
CAM LAW assists people facing criminal prosecution and probation issues throughout the West Georgia area. We provide compassionate, aggressive, and meticulous advocacy for people facing difficult situations.