Your Guide to Community Service in Georgia
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Author: Philip Kim, Founder, Philip Kim Law, P.C.
Defense lawyer Philip Kim has committed his career to standing up for the accused, and protecting the rights and reputations of his valued clients. If you face criminal charges in Georgia, we can provide you with the skilled, effective defense representation you need.
Published on November 28, 2023.
What Is Community Service?
Has a court ordered you to engage in community service after a conviction? Do you want to know what community service is about? It is essential you understand what community service is and how to perform it.
Community service refers to unpaid work carried out by a person or group of persons for the benefit or betterment of the community. An example of such service is the provision of homeless shelters for members of the homeless community or an animal shelter for animals. It can be performed at a community center or in places such as a local park or a local library.
Community service can result from sanctions for criminal convictions or requirements for school groups. The motive of community service for offenders is that it offers more benefits to society than incarceration. The community benefits from the offender’s work, and imprisonment costs are prevented.
Types of Community Service
Community service can be of the following types:
Court-Ordered Community Service
If convicted for certain crimes, judges can order offenders to engage in community service alongside other penalties, which may include imposition of fines and jail time. Judges can also order offenders to perform community service instead of other punishments or sentencing.
It is essential to note that first-time or non-violent offenders are often selected as candidates for court-ordered community service. Judges also order community service as a condition for probation for some offenses.
When a judge gives you an order to perform community service, they sometimes assign the nonprofit organizations where you have to volunteer. At other times, you may be given the liberty to choose the type of community service you want to do.
Courts may even provide you with a list of approved organizations where you can perform community service. In cases where you are given the freedom to choose, you should ensure the court accepts or approves your chosen organization before you commence the service.
Once you choose a particular organization to perform your community service, contact them. You will then have to notify them of your court-ordered community service and the nature of the crime you were convicted of. Notifying them will help you determine if there is availability for community service or if they have volunteer opportunities.
Community Service as a Corporate Social Responsibility
Some employers choose to engage their staff in a community service program as a form of giving back to society. They regard community service as a corporate social responsibility that they carry out to help communities. Some organizations also provide donations or grants in recognition of their employees’ volunteering in a community service project.
Such organizations do community service projects as a way exhibit their core values. Participation in community service may also be used as a condition of employment by organizations. In such cases, it may be a good idea to ascertain that you performed community service at specific periods.
Community Service in Fulfilling Academic Requirements
Certain institutions require students to perform community service projects. They also allow their employees and students to work together while carrying out community service projects. Completing these projects helps to foster a relationship between the parties involved and interact with the needs of members of the communities.
Students can engage in community service relating to their field of interest, helping them gain experience. For instance, music students can organize free music lessons for communities.
There are instances where schools also allow their students to engage in virtual community service. Students in such cases are required to submit their community service hours after completing the community service projects.
Crimes That May Lead to Community Service
You may receive community service as a penalty if convicted for:
State-level low property crimes
Let’s take the example of driving under the influence (DUI) in detail.
First DUI Offense
If you have first-time DUI charges and you are under the age of 21, you can be ordered to perform 20 hours of community service if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is under 0.08%. However, if your BAC levels are over 0.08%, then you will be sentenced to complete 40 hours of community service.
Second DUI Offense
For a second DUI offense, the court may order you to perform community service for at least 30 days (240 hours). Likewise, you may be ordered to perform at least 30 days (240 hours) of community service for a third DUI offense. It is worth noting that this community service sanction may be issued alongside other penalties like fines, jail time, or probation.
You can also face a community service penalty if convicted of a DUI less safe offense and traffic ticket cases. However, community service is generally unavailable if you are convicted of serious offenses or violent crimes. It may be essential to note that community service for juvenile offenders is usually preferred for those who cannot afford to pay fines.
As seen above, the cost of a DUI in Georgia is severe and can have far-reaching consequences on your life and criminal record. Consider hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you navigate Georgia’s criminal justice system.
Importance of Community Service
Community service is significant for the following reasons:
Creation of societal bonds: Community service helps you create a special bond with other community members. You can interact with the community through community service, and your sense of responsibility for assisting others heightens.
Derivation of psychological benefit: It provides psychological benefits by increasing satisfaction due to helping others.
Derivation of cognitive benefits: It provides cognitive benefits by enhancing your knowledge and developing interpersonal communication skills. You can internalize the insightful information secured during the service for future applications. It also allows you to have practical experience in your career.
It helps decongest jails or prisons.
It helps charitable and non-profit organizations.
It helps you reflect on the difference you are making in society and better understand your roles in your community.
It creates room for an offender to be rehabilitated into society.
What Happens if an Offender Fails to Complete Their Community Service?
It is crucial for you to not trivialize court-ordered community service. If you fail to complete your community service hours, there may be penalties for such actions. Penalties may include reinstatement of the original sentence and stiff fines. The court may even find you in contempt of its order.
Therefore, it is essential you document the days and hours you perform community service. If the organization does not have a sign sheet, ensure you are given a completion letter on the organization’s letterhead upon completing your service.
Contact Us at Philip Kim Law, P.C.
Making a difference commences with community service. Discover how Philip Kim Law, P.C., can support your efforts to give back to society.
If you seek to know the statute of limitations in Georgia for a DUI or have been ordered by the court to perform community service, contact our experienced attorneys. We are willing to guide you if you have any questions regarding community service.
Reach out to us today and schedule a free consultation!