Probation Violations

person in probation discussion with attorney

In Texas, a probation violation occurs when the terms and conditions of the community supervision are violated. Probation is a sentence in criminal cases, where rather than going to jail defendants are supervised by a probation officer. The probation officer is in charge of making sure defendants fulfill the terms of the probation set forth by the prosecutor and judge.

The terms and conditions of probation are unique for each case. Examples of common terms include;

  • Regular drug and alcohol testing
  • Interlocks for DWI cases
  • Regular meetings with the probation officer
  • Paying court costs and restitution to victims of the criminal act
  • Not leaving the county or state without approval
  • Community Service
  • Not getting any other charges
  • Staying away from criminals and criminal activity
  • Drug and Alcohol or victim impact courses

If at any time prior to the completion of probation the defendant violates any term of their probation, a prosecutor will have to file a motion to adjudicate probation. The court will then issue an arrest warrant. After, the defendant is arrested a revocation hearing will be set. The prosecutor is required to show by a preponderance of evidence at the revocation hearing that the violation occurred. During a revocation hearing, the defendant has the right to an attorney.

If the judge determines that no terms of probation were violated, the defendant is released and probation resumes.

If the judge rules that there was a violation of the terms and conditions of the defendant's probation the judge can;

  • Revoke probation and send the defendant to jail, or
  • Release the defendant but impose further conditions on them.

If the defendant is sent to jail, the time spent on probation will not count towards the jail sentence imposed by the judge.

Deferred Adjudication:

Deferred Adjudication probation is a community supervised program, however, unlike probation a deferred adjudication sentence is a criminal sentence prior to the final verdict. Essentially, after the plea, the judge delays the final verdict giving the defendant a chance to complete the program and have the criminal charge dismissed.

If a defendant violated the terms of the deferred adjudication and their probation is revoked the verdict is finalized and the case goes to sentencing. The judge can issue a sentence according to the range of the original offense.

For example, an individual on a deferred adjudication for a class B possession of Marijuana under 2 ounces. If the individual completes the deferred adjudication, they will have their case dismissed. If the individual has his deferred adjudication probation revoked, they will be subject to the full range of punishment, up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. Additionally, the conviction will go on the defendant's record.

Early release from probation:

In Texas, a judge has the authority to terminate your probation early to those who may qualify.

Typically, if you have had a prior probation violation the court will not allow early release from probation.

Individuals in good standing with their probation officer and the court may hire an attorney to petition the court for early termination.