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First offenders act 6 years ago on a burglary charge- got 10 years probation. Now charged with theft by receiving. HELP

Lawrenceville, GA |

My friend used the first offenders act 6 years ago on a burglary charge, had to do a few months boot camp and 10 years probation, where he doesn't have to report. He has 4 years left on that probation. Just recently he was charged with theft by receiving, in a different county. He's gotten bond for this recent charge, but there is a hold on him from the county where he was charged for the burglary.

Whats the worse that could happen? Whats the best?

Attorney Answers 4

  1. I do not practice in GA, but I can offer some general advice. The worst that can happen is he will be sentenced to the maximum jail time/other penalties on the original burglary charge. The best that can happen is nothing. It is more likely something in the middle will happen. Factors that will determine what happens include your boyfriend's age, education, employment, criminal history, behavior since the first offense, etc.

    I strongly urge your boyfriend to consult with local, experienced probation revocation attorneys. His chances of securing a favorable outcome increase exponentially with an attorney on his side. Further, there may be alternatives to his probation being revoked.

    Good luck!

  2. Ms. Missimer is correct about the best and worst and about her advice regarding hiring an attorney. If he is revoked he will also loose the chance to receive first offender treatment and will be adjudicated a felon. The sooner your friend has counsel, the better since he will need to both defend against the new charge as well as the probation revocation. If he has a defense to the new charge, he may be able to convince the old jurisdiction to hold off on the revocation until that new case is resolved. He will not likely be able to work that out on his own. Usually the probation revocation moves much more quickly, so he needs to have counsel there now.

  3. The worst that can happen is that your friend can go back before the original Burglary judge and lose his first offender status. Not only can he then become a convicted felon, but the judge can impose a new sentence of up to 20 years (with the 20 years beginning on the original date of sentencing), all in prison, or all on probation or a combination of the two. Your friend needs an attorney in both counties, but especially in the county in which he has the first offender sentence.

  4. By Georgia law (statute), a citizen can avoid being convicted of a crime by entering a plea under the First Offender Act. What this means is the judge puts off the conviction (in legal terms “defers adjudication”) until the citizen completes probation. While on probation, a citizen must meet with a probation officer who makes sure the citizen is obeying his or her terms of probation as instructed by the judge. Other than that, a citizen on probation enjoys all civil rights, except for carrying guns. If a citizen completes probation with no further arrests, then the citizen is never convicted of the crime (in legal terms stands “discharged and acquitted” of the original charge). Of course, the down side is that if the citizen violates the terms of probation, such as by being arrested, he or she could be brought back to court, re-sentenced for his or her original crime plus the new one(s), and then convicted.

    For more information please see my avvo guide:

    This is not intended for specific legal advice. Please consult a lawyer.

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