On May 3, 2021, Governor Brian Kemp signed SB 105, also known as the probation reform bill, into law. If you are currently on probation, you may qualify for early termination of probation. Keep reading to learn about SB 105, if you qualify, and how I can help you!
What is SB 105?
In short, SB 105 allows for early termination of probation after 3 years if a person on probation, also known as a probationer, meets specific requirements.
Why is SB 105 important?
As of 2021, Georgia led the nation in the number of people on probation, with 190,475 people on felony probation. Before signing SB 105, the number of people on probation overwhelmed the Department of Community Supervision and the courts. The number of people on felony probation also cost the State of Georgia $34 million a year. SB 105 continues to address the substantial number of people on felony probation and provides clear requirements for people to transition off probation.
Do you qualify for SB 105?
Before considering whether someone on probation qualifies for SB 105, there are some requirements a person must meet. First, SB 105 applies only to those people who:
- Have not had a prior felony conviction. In other words, the person must be a first offender; and
- Were sentenced to probation or no more than 12 months of imprisonment.
To qualify for SB 105’s early termination of probation, the probationer must have served 3 years of probation. The probationer also must:
- Pay all restitution owed;
- Have not had their probation revoked in the immediately preceding 24 months, or if the court includes a behavioral incentive date less than two years from the date the person was sentenced, they must not have had their probation revoked during that period; and
- Not have been arrested for anything other than a nonserious traffic offense since the start of probation.
In other words, for someone on probation and seeking early termination of probation under SB 105, they must pay any money the court required them to pay as part of their sentence, have not had any probation revocations, and have no new arrests since starting probation.
SB 105 also applies to people who are currently being sentenced. SB 105 requires that if a person does not have a prior felony conviction and is sentenced to probation or no more than 12 months imprisonment, the court must include a behavioral incentive date when they sentence the person. A behavioral sentence date allows a person’s probation sentence to end early if they comply with all the terms of their probation. The behavioral sentence date must be 3 years or less from the day the court sentenced the person.
For people sentenced before Governor Kemp signed SB 105 into law, the court must go back to that person’s sentencing order and change the order to include a behavioral sentence date 3 years from the date the person was sentenced.
Why you need a lawyer if you qualify for SB 105
Figuring out if you qualify for SB 105 can be confusing. SB 105’s impact on your case depends on whether you are about to be sentenced, were already sentenced, or are currently on probation. I will analyze your circumstances to determine how SB 105 applies to your unique case.
If you are currently on probation and qualify for SB 105, a lawyer will help you take the necessary steps to ensure your probation sentence is terminated. First, if you qualify for early termination of probation under SB 105, the Georgia Department of Community Supervision will notify the attorney that prosecuted your case and the court that you qualify. Then, the court will end your probation.
However, the Georgia Department of Community Supervision does not always notify the court and prosecutor that a person qualifies for early termination of probation. I will help you gather documentation and present your qualifications to the court to make sure that, if you qualify for early termination of probation, the prosecuting attorney and the court are aware that your probation should be terminated early.
Second, the prosecuting attorney can request a hearing if you qualify for SB 105 to dispute your qualifications. If this happens, I will represent you at the hearing, fight to make sure the court considers your qualifications, and ensure you receive the best possible outcome at the hearing.
Have questions? Give me a call today.
Navigating the criminal legal system can be confusing. I have decades of experience fighting for clients at all stages of their cases, including clients on probation. I know the players in the Georgia criminal court, and I am here to help you throughout the life of your case. If you think you may qualify for SB 105 or have legal questions, give me a call today!