What is a Behavioral Incentive Date

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behavioral incentive date

On May 3, 2021, the Georgia Justice Project helped push into law through SB 105 an opportunity for some individuals to be released from probation who have already served 3 years.  This bill is retroactive, meaning it applies to you even if your case began long before this bill was passed.  The reason this bill was passed is because Georgia had both the highest number of people on probation and the longest probation sentences in the country- by far.

Am I Eligible?

Provided you meet the below criteria, your probation officer is required to provide the court with an order to terminate your probation within 60 days of the expiration of your “behavioral incentive date”.  If your case did not include a behavioral incentive date in your pre-existing sentencing, one is now automatically set for you on exactly three years from the date of your sentencing.

The criteria that will allow for termination of probation upon your behavioral incentive date are:

  1. You are on probation for a felony offense in which life imprisonment, life without parole, or the death penalty would not have been allowed to have been imposed
  2. You have no prior felony conviction(s)
  3. You were sentenced to twelve months or less of imprisonment prior to being placed on probation
  4. You have paid all restitution owed (even if other fees are unpaid)
  5. You have not had your probation revoked in the last 24 months (a revocation that occurred earlier than that is fine)
  6. You have not been arrested for anything other than a nonserious traffic offense

How Do I Do It?

Once you have reached your behavior incentive date and have met all of the above criteria, reach out to your probation officer and request early termination under the new O.C.G.A. § 17-10-1.  The Department of Community Supervision is then required to notify the prosecuting attorney and the court of this request and provide an order to the court to terminate the probation.  The court is then required to execute the termination of probation by default.  The court or prosecuting attorney technically have an opportunity to request a hearing as to your termination, however, which will then grant the court the discretion to decline the request to terminate.  This hearing must be requested within 30 days of receipt of the order from DCS by the court, and then the hearing must be held within 90 days of receipt of the order from DCS.  If either of these timelines are not adhered to, your attorney may argue that the hearing cannot be held and the court is therefore required by law to grant the request to terminate.

What’s New?

  • Prior to this bill, courts were not always assigning behavioral incentive dates and there was no real mechanism to enforce their assignment.  Now, if the court neglects to assign a behavioral incentive date in their sentencing, a defendant may essentially assign their own behavioral incentive date at the 3-year mark. 
  • Prior to this bill, relief from probation upon expiration of your behavioral incentive date required all general and special conditions to be met, including any fees outside of restitution.  Now, there is not an additional review of whether you have met all conditions- all that matters is that there was not a prior review within the last two years that caused your probation to be revoked.  Additionally, some conditions like court fees outside of restitution no longer have to be met.
  • Prior to this bill, a judge who was biased against your case could have exploited a legal loophole by requesting a hearing for your probation termination, but never setting the date for the hearing thereby creating a situation where your probation could effectively never be terminated.  Now, the court and prosecutor will lose their right to a hearing if they fail to hold it within 90 days of receipt of the request.


If you are looking to modify or terminate your probation and need the best local criminal defense attorney, give Bixon Law a call today to speak to one of our experienced Georgia criminal defense lawyers. We will vigorously defend your criminal defense rights and advocate on your behalf to have your criminal case dismissed or your charges reduced. As experienced trial attorneys, we are not afraid to take your case to trial if necessary. We represent clients in Atlanta and throughout the state of Georgia. We are lawyers who are committed to helping people in difficult situations, and we invite you to call us at 404-551-5684 for a free consultation on your case today.