Question: My Brother is in the third-year of a first offender probation sentence in Cobb County for felony theft by taking. He was recently arrested at Walmart for misdemeanor theft by shoplifting and had a .380 handgun in his jacket pocket. He is now being charged with the misdemeanor and “Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon or a First Offender Probationer.” What is he facing now?
Answer: OCGA 16-11-131(b) states that “any person who is on probation as a felony first offender pursuant to Article 3 of Chapter 8 of Title 42 or who has been convicted of a felony by a court of this state or any other state; by a court of the United States including its territories, possessions, and dominions; or by a court of any foreign nation and who receives, possesses, or transports any firearm commits a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be imprisoned for not less than one nor more than five years; provided, however, that if the felony as to which the person is on probation or has been previously convicted is a forcible felony, then upon conviction of receiving, possessing, or transporting a firearm, such person shall be imprisoned for a period of five years.”
First, prison time is what your brother is potentially facing on the new charge of Possession of a Firearm by a First Offender Probationer. Under Georgia Law, a first offender probationer is strictly prohibited from carrying a firearm even though they have not been adjudicated of a felony and sentenced as a felon.
Next, your brother also violated his probation by being arrested for a new felony. Accordingly, his probation can be potentially be revoked and he can be re-sentenced to the maximum of 10 years on the felony theft by taking probation violation and adjudicated a felon by the sentencing judge. This can be run concurrent (together) or consecutive (back-to-back) to the potential 5 years that he could possibly receive for the new felony charge of Possession of a Firearm by a First Offender Probationer.
Carrying a firearm while restricted to do so can carry severe penalties in Georgia. Please don’t do it. If you or someone you know has a firearm charge, please call The Boddie Law Group, LLC at 404-287-2393.