Shock Probation in the State of Texas


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Shock Probation in the State of Texas

You undoubtedly understand the concept of probation, but you may never have heard the term shock probation. While shock probation sounds a bit edgy, it is a pretty straightforward process. So-called shock probation (Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Article 42A.202) is a means of converting, in highly specific situations, a prison sentence into probation that allows a judge to send a convicted defendant to either jail or prison for a short (shocking) period – to be followed by probation. The idea is that the brief stint behind bars will shock the defendant into more law-abiding practices.

Shock Probation Addresses Several Important Issues

Shock probation is intended to address the issue of overcrowding in correctional facilities. It is often a good option for those who are considered at low risk of becoming repeat offenders. It can also be used to reward good behavior.

Who Is Eligible?

The legal parameters that guide shock probation are relatively exacting. The defendant applying must be eligible for probation (at some point) in the first place and must have received a sentence of no more than 10 years. Further, the defendant must apply for shock probation – and the court must make its decisions – before the defendant has spent six months in custody (at which time the trial court loses jurisdiction).

When it comes to shock probation, all of the following must be true:

  • The sentencing judge must believe that the defendant in question would not benefit from further incarceration.

  • The defendant must be eligible for probation.

  • The defendant must not have a previous felony conviction.

The judge involved will first review the defendant's jail record to ensure that he or she had no disciplinary issues.

How It Works

The original sentencing judge can grant shock probation, but he or she must do so within the defendant's first 180 days behind bars. The defendant – himself or herself – the prosecutors, the judge, or the defense team can bring the motion for shock probation. If shock probation is granted, the defendant is released from jail – once the shortened term has been served – and enters into regular probation. While a judge can deny a shock probation request without having a hearing, the opposite is not true. For a judge to grant shock probation, both the defendant and the prosecution must be allowed to support their side in a hearing before the judge.

Facing Criminal Charges? Consult with an Experienced Killeen Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you are facing criminal charges, the matter is far too important not to seek the professional legal counsel you need. Brett Pritchard, at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard – proudly serving Killeen, Texas – is a formidable criminal defense attorney who is committed to skillfully applying his unique legal qualifications to building your most comprehensive defense. We are here for you, so please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.


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