When you are found guilty of a criminal offense, a judge may order probation as an alternative to incarceration. Probation permits you to live and work in the community as long as you comply with the court-ordered terms of your probation.
The terms of probation typically include abstaining from using illegal drugs or controlled substances, compliance with all court orders, regular reporting to a probation officer, and many more.
Unfortunately, many offenders end up violating probation simply because they do not fully understand the terms of their probation. If you are suspected of violating the conditions of your probation, it is important to contact an attorney right away.
Your Fort Hood criminal defense attorney will help you understand what penalties you could face for violating probation in Texas. Speak with an attorney to discuss your particular case.
What Are the Terms of Probation in Texas?
Since every probation case is unique, the terms of probation may differ from one case to another. A judge can exercise discretion when choosing what restrictions and rules to impose on an offender’s probation. In criminal cases, the terms of probation depend on the following factors:
The type and severity of the criminal offense committed by the offender;
The offender’s criminal record;
Whether the offender poses a danger to the community
While each case is unique, judges commonly impose the following terms of probation in Texas:
Pay all court costs
Pay court-ordered restitution to the victim
Not get arrested for any criminal offense while on probation
Give up all firearms in possession
Abstain from illegal drugs, alcohol, and controlled substances
Regularly report to the probation officer
Attend regular meetings with the probation officer
Complete alcohol/drug treatment
Do not leave the state or country without the probation officer’s probation
Submit to random alcohol/drug testing while on probation
Avoid being involved in criminal activities
Complete court-ordered community service
If you are not sure what the terms of your probation are, consult with an attorney. Your attorney will help you understand the terms and conditions of your probation to ensure that you avoid violating it. Probation violations could lead to the revocation of your probation.
Types of Probation Violations in Texas
If a judge ordered probation instead of serving time in prison, you should comply with the terms and conditions of your probation. Violating the terms of your probation can result in harsh penalties. Common types of probation violations include but are not limited to:
Getting arrested for another criminal offense
Being found guilty of another crime while on probation
Failing to participate in or complete court-ordered substance abuse treatment
Failing mandatory drug or alcohol tests
Quitting a job or failing to maintain employment
Failing to complete court-ordered community service
Leaving the state or country without the probation officer’s approval
If you are accused of violating the terms of your probation in Texas, do not hesitate to speak with a criminal defense attorney to discuss your options.
Penalties for Probation Violations in Texas
A violation of probation can result in a judge ordering the probationer to pay fines and serve time in jail. The exact penalties associated with violating the terms of your probation depend on the type and severity of the alleged violation.
1. You May Receive a Warning
Probation officers can exercise discretion when choosing penalties for an offender’s probation violations. If your violation is considered minor and you managed to cultivate a good relationship with your probation officer, you may receive a warning for violating the terms of your probation.
However, a probation officer will consider a variety of factors when issuing a warning, including whether or not the offender was previously warned or committed other violations.
2. You May Be Required to Appear in Court
If an offender does not comply with the terms of their probation, they are likely to be required to appear in court. At the probation violation hearing, the judge will consider whether or not to order penalties such as:
Imposing additional probation terms in addition to the original probation order;
Requiring the offender to serve a short jail sentence; and
Revoking the offender’s community supervision and requiring him/her to serve the remaining time of the sentence in jail.
A judge has broad discretion to choose other penalties if appropriate. If you were ordered to appear in court for your probation violation hearing, it is vital to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will help you prepare for the hearing.
3. The Term of Your Probation May Be Extended
Often, when an offender on probation fails to pay court-ordered probation fees, court costs, fines, and/or restitution, the judge may extend the term of your original probation or community supervision.
4. You May Be Ordered to Serve Time in Jail
A judge may revoke your probation and send you back to jail or prison. You may be ordered to serve the full sentence you otherwise would have faced for the original criminal offense. If you were ordered to probation through deferred adjudication in Texas, a violation of the terms of your probation is likely to lead to its revocation. As a result, you are likely to be ordered to serve the original amount of time in jail or prison.
What Happens at the Probation Revocation Hearing?
If you are suspected of violating the terms of your probation, a judge will schedule a revocation hearing. The prosecutor will have the burden of proof to demonstrate evidence of the alleged violation.
It is important to have a skilled criminal defense attorney on your side to represent your rights and interests at the hearing. Your attorney will present your arguments in front of the judge to convince them not to revoke your probation.
If your attorney successfully proves that you did not violate the terms of your probation, you will not face any penalties, and your probation will continue. If the judge determines that the alleged violation took place, they can either revoke your probation and send you back to jail/prison or release you and impose additional terms of probation.