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What is BID in Georgia?

Posted by Sean A. Black | Aug 09, 2017 | 11 Comments

Effective July 1, 2017, Georgia law has been changed to provide greater incentives for compliance with probation for first offenders. O.C.G.A. § 17-10-1(B) now provides that upon sentencing on a first felony conviction, the court must set a behavioral incentive date (BID).

What Sentences Get a BID?

It must be for a first felony conviction. It must be a straight probation sentence. Split sentences would not be eligible. A split sentence is one where the person must serve a period of time in the custody of the Department of Corrections in incarceration.

How Far Out Can the BID be?

The BID can be no more than three years from the start of the sentence but can be earlier.

What Must Be Done to Benefit from the BID?

The probationer must not have been arrested for anything other than a nonserious traffic offense (as defined in O.C.G.A. § 35-3-37).

The probationer must have been compliant with the general and special conditions of probation imposed.

The probationer must have paid all restitution owed.

What is a nonserious traffic offense?

A nonserious traffic offense is any offense set out in the Motor Vehicle Title (Title 40) of the Georgia Code other than the serious violations set out in Article 15 of Chapter 6 of Title 40. Those serious violations include reckless driving, DUI, homicide by vehicle, feticide by vehicle serious injury by vehicle, fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer, impersonating a law enforcement officer, homicide or serious injury by interference with traffic control device or railroad signn or signal, and aggressive driving.

What if I have arrest but the charge is dismissed?

The way that the new provision is written, the mere fact of arrest is a disqualifier against the benefit of the BID. However, in such a case, a court could still exercise its discretion to modify the probation sentence. A court could still early terminate probation.

What Happens if the Probationer Meets the Requirements?

If the probationer does what is required, then the Department of Community Supervision must submit the case back to the court within 60 days after the BID ith a proposed order to terminate the probation.

Does the Court Have to Sign the Order Terminating Probation?

Within thirty days of the submission of the order, either the prosecutor or the judge can request a hearing. The purpose, standard, and issues for such hearing are undefined in the new provision. The court is authorized to take whatever action “it determines would be for the best interest of justice and the welfare of society.

Does This Law Change Existing Provisions to Reduce Active Supervision?

Currently, many felony probation sentences are eligible to go off of active supervision after two years. There is no change to this provision. Some sentences are not eligible for inactive supervision including street gang crimes. Fines or funds payment, other than restitution, are no longer a reason for a case not to go to inactive supervision. Collection of restitution continues to be a reason to continue active supervision.

Black Law Offices, LLC, assists people facing criminal charges and probation issues throughout Northeast Georgia.  We are experienced advocates for people facing difficult situations.

About the Author

Sean A. Black

Sean A. Black is a 1992 graduate of the Emory University School of Law. He has been in private practice in Toccoa, Georgia since June 1, 1992.


Torris Esq. Reply

Posted Sep 05, 2017 at 15:53:09

Attorney Black,

I found your website to be very helpful as I was googling the new ALS hearing statue for Georgia. Please keep up the good work.

Beonka Thomas Reply

Posted Jul 29, 2021 at 17:25:30

I would like information about a bid day or termination of probation/ expungement with a felony misdemeanor with the first offender act. The charge is with Child Cruelty 1st degree. If I could speak to someone that would be great 404-630-2838.

Sean A. Black Reply

Posted Jul 30, 2021 at 06:02:51

If this is already a first offender sentence, the pathway is successful completion or early termination of the first offender sentence. The appropriateness of seeking early termination is very fact-specific. You would need a lawyer who handles cases in the county of sentencing. Your inquiry does not identify that county.

Private Reply

Posted Nov 17, 2021 at 13:25:36

I was sentenced to 20 yrs probation with set to terminate after 5 years pending no violation. No jail time. I was sentenced to first offenders with the charge being statutory rape. I have met the three requirements and I’m coming up on my three year mark. My question is do I qualify for the BID because it is not on my sentencing order? An also when I asked my probation officer they blew me off and said because it was already set to terminate after five years I don’t qualify. They didn’t even look into it for me. I would like to try if I do qualify

Sean A. Black Reply

Posted Nov 18, 2021 at 05:33:15

My understanding is that you do qualify. However, with an underlying sexual offense, I am not sure that it would make sense to push the issue. The judge retains discretion to continue supervision.

Catherine Reply

Posted Aug 31, 2022 at 10:35:57

Sean, so glad to ask you a question. Son was definitely eligible for BID, except Probation Officer Forsyth County asked my son (very young) to sign a “Waiver for Continuation of Supervision” or a “BID Waiver of Termination Letter” that I have. He did not understand what he was signing. Can we do something quickly? He was up for BID on 8/5/2022. Do we have to act before 10/5/2022 as one of the posts above seems to indicate? His charge is online sexual exploitation of children. The emotional and financial toll is killing us. Thank you so much.

Sean A. Black Reply

Posted Aug 31, 2022 at 11:05:54

I have not encountered that situation, and it is concerning, since the circumstances may not have made signature feel very voluntary. I do not handle cases in Forsyth County, though. You should talk to a criminal defense firm down there to see what options there are.

The statute contemplates an early termination being extended, and sexual offenses and violent offenses are typically the kind of cases that are submitted to a judge for extension of supervision.

However, I am not aware of any statutory provision for the waiver that you are describing.

I will say that there is an opportunity for the prosecutor to object to a submission for termination pursuant to a BID, with an opportunity for both sides to be heard by the judge.

John sertain Reply

Posted Aug 12, 2023 at 11:51:31

I am concerned about the bid day can I lock you up on that day for not paying your fines I have no restitution I’m also got sores all over the back of my legs I’ve got one leg I’m in a wheelchair and don’t think I can make it to the hearing Tuesday

Sean A. Black Reply

Posted Aug 14, 2023 at 05:55:49

That is not how BID works. BID is a reward if you do everything that you are supposed to do under the sentence. If you do that, then your sentence can be over early. If you have not completed everything, you continue to be eligible for early termination once you complete everything.

Failure to pay your fine can result in a warrant for violation of probation if the probation officer believes you have the ability to pay but are not paying. You should always pay your fine as early as you can and pay at least what you are instructed to pay on a monthly basis. If you cannot pay, you need to continue to report as directed and keep your supervising officer of the financial difficulties that you are having. If you have money to spend, you should whenever possible spend it on the criminal fines rather than other non-necessary expenses.

Austin Reply

Posted Aug 17, 2023 at 17:17:43

In regards to BID date not qualifying for split sentences, does this apply even to first offender probation sentences where one was sentenced to 12 months or less? I’ve seen conflicting information on this topic. I thought that for sentences where you are on a split sentence with 12 months or less you are qualified for a BID (per a document on the DCS website) — is this the case?

Sean A. Black Reply

Posted Aug 18, 2023 at 06:48:25

Straight probation sentences get a BID. Split sentences which consist of incarceration of 12 months or less followed by probation get a BID.

A sentence that includes a suspended sentence of incarceration may not be entitled to a BID.

It does apply to first offender sentences, although there was a period where this was not clear and some courts got away with not giving a BID. That was corrected at the next legislative session.

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