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xavierjd, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Over 20 yrs experience in prosecution and defense work
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I recently plead guilty to three felonies in the state of GA

Resolved Question:

I recently plead guilty to three felonies in the state of GA in Gilmer county (I used my first offender rights) to possesion of marijuana (7oz.) distribution and intent to distribute. The pot was my ex-boyfriends, the bust happened almost 3 years ago in my ex-boyfriends house but he had just left the country the day before so he was able to avoid any charges. I have been sentenced to 120 days in a detention center that they are allowing me to serve on weekends since I am a single mom with a 7 month old son, along with ten years probation, 120 hours of community service. I also have to pay for the jail term served, $35 a day. . I have to driver almost 2 hours every weekend to get to Gilmer. My question: would it be likely that I could in a few months ask for a reduced sentence, what would I have to do to make this request and what could I be doing now that would that would help the DA and judge look favorablely unpon me? I feel like my lawyer did not do everything in his power to get the lightest sentencing, I don't know what was discussed with the DA or why the sentencing was so harsh. I have never been in trouble before or since and am trying deserately to be a good mother. In any case, is it likely I can get this sentencing reduced and what can I do to make that happen?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  xavierjd replied 6 years ago.

Thanks for using


How long have you been on probation and serving your sentence in Gilmer?


Do you know if there is a detention center closer to your home?


Have you completed any community service?


Have you made any payments on your jail term?


Thank you

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I'm supposed to start tomorrow, I'm guessing I need to wait until at least March or April before I should request a shortened sentence. There is a closer detention center here in Fulton county but I was advised not to request transer because it is lot more dangerous and that the "sign in and sign out" for weekend visitors like myself could take hours upon hours. I have completed 41 hours of community service. I have not paid any of my jail sentencing yet but plan on paying it ASAP, but I will only have an extra $500 per month going forward with these added expenses. Also, I been gainfully employed at my job for the last 5 years. I'm trying to avoid the probation officer contacting my work as it may result in termination. I meet with my probation officer for the first time tomorrow as well.
Expert:  xavierjd replied 6 years ago.

It sounds like you have already made excellent progress.


The three most important things that you can do are 1) Abide by ALL terms of your probation; 2) Develop an honest and professional relationship with your probation officer; 3) Complete your community service hours ASAP and pay off your jail fees ASAP.


Your probation officer can be your best friend or your worst enemy. You need to be honest with him/her and never be late for an appointment. Also, don't ever fail to appear for an appointment--even if you have done something that may appear to violate your probation. If you appear, you are on time and you can show progress towards rehabilitation with each visit, when you ask that your probation be amended your probation officer may even recommend to the judge that s/he grant your request.


It is important that you maintain your employment and if you have not completed high school, that you get your diploma or GED. If you have graduated or already received your GED, it would be VERY helpful if you take a class or classes at your local community college. That will show the judge that you are intent on improving your life and, therefore, the life of your child.


If you are a "model" probationer, you may be able to go back in 6 months or so and ask that the judge amend your probation order. For example, you can ask that any remaining weekend jail time be held until the end of your probation. If you successfully complete it, then ask that the judge suspend the balance of the jail time. You can make this request (especially if you have done your community service, are up to date on your fees, and have not tested positive for any drugs) because you are "learning a valuable lesson" and that you know the importance of leading a good life, especially for your daughter. If you are enrolled in school, you can also let the judge know that and that you would really like to spend your weekends studying. You can indicate that you now know what it is like to be locked up, and it is not something that you ever want to have happen again. You can say that you are trying very hard to comply with all of your probationary terms and that you would appreciate any consideration that the judge would give.


Leading up to your request, you can develop a good relationship with your probation officer and gain his respect. Once that occurs, you can ask the probation officer if s/he will go along with your request, or at least not object.


As time goes on, you can again request that your probationary terms be lessened, or that your probation be allowed to terminate early. However, that most likely, can't even be considered for at least 3-4 years.


With respect to your sentencing, the punishment is withing the discretion of the judge within the law. Honestly, with 3 felonies, you could have spent a lot more time in jail or prison AND had many additional terms of your probation. Judges in Georgia do not look kindly on drug offenses and it could have been A LOT worse.


Make sure that you tell the probation officer that you could lose your job if they find out about your conviction. Let him/her know that you won't lie to your employer, but you aren't going to offer up information about your conviction either. Tell your probation officer that you would appreciate it if s/he would NOT contact your employer or contact you at work. Tell your probation officer that you will be more than happy to keep in contact with him/her as often as s/he would like, but that you REALLY don't want him/her to contact you at work. I would bet that if you approach him/her honestly and ASK (not demand), your probation officer will work with you.


Remember, it is VERY important that you keep a good relationship with your probation officer. S/he is the bridge between you and the judge. Again, your probation officer can be your best friend or your worst enemy.


Good luck.


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