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A closer look at how Georgia's parole process works

One of the first inquiries that anyone who has been convicted of a felony offense here in Georgia has after being sentenced to prison is how long they will have to stay behind bars.

While there is, of course, no definitive answer to this question given that the circumstances of every criminal case are different, there are at least some very clear guidelines relating to the parole process here in the Peach State.

At the outset, it's important to differentiate between parole and probation. While both are alternatives to incarceration, the latter typically takes place before and in lieu of a prison sentence, while the former is early release from prison.

Not all inmates in Georgia are eligible for parole. Indeed, those who fall into one of the following categories will not have this option:

  • Those sentenced to life without parole
  • Those sentenced as a recidivist after being convicted of their fourth-plus felony
  • Those given non-life sentences for designated serious violent felonies committed on or after January 1, 1995

State law provides, however, that those inmates who are eligible for parole will have their case reviewed by the Parole Board after having completed one-third of their sentence.

A few important points for those who fall into this latter category to consider include:

  • While they have a right to have their case considered by the Parole Board, they do not have a right to be released on parole.
  • The odds of being granted parole at the initial hearing are relatively low.
  • No specific action must be taken or application filed in order to have a case considered by the Parole Board, as the process is automatic and takes place regardless of pending appeals   

We'll continue exploring this topic in future posts.

If you are under investigation or have been charged with any sort of felony offense, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible so that they can get to work building a strong defense designed to protect your future.

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