When you plead guilty to committing a crime, sometimes you will be sent to prison for a specific period and sometimes you may receive probation, a program in which you forgo prison and are instead put under community supervision.
You may be placed on either an active or inactive type of supervision with probation. With the active type of supervision, you must meet with a probation officer regularly and will be placed under more severe restrictions than those placed on an inactive type.
Violating your probation in Texas can have serious consequences. It may undo all of the progress that you have made in putting your criminal history behind you. Sometimes, the court will extend the term of your probation, but other times it will even assess a prison or jail sentence.
Regardless of the outcome, it can be a very troubling situation when you violate any court-ordered supervision. Here is what can happen should you violate your probation.
What Constitutes a Violation of Probation in TX?
When you are put on probation, you must adhere to certain rules and restrictions for the duration of your sentence. It is when you fail to do so that you violate your probation. Those who are on probation are still serving a criminal sentence and should therefore take their requirements very seriously.
Requirements of Probation
While every case is different and the judge can make his or her own decision on the terms and requirements of your probation, certain factors are taken into consideration:
- The type of crime you committed
- The severity of the crime
- Whether putting you on probation puts the safety of the community at risk
Depending upon the specifics of the above factors, you may be faced with any of the following terms of probation:
- Paying fees
- Paying court costs
- Regularly meeting with a court-assigned probation officer
- Specific community service
- Completing an alcohol or drug treatment program
- Adhering to random alcohol and/or drug tests
- Having restrictions placed on your travel
- Paying restitution to any victims of your crime
- Avoiding being arrested for another crime during your probation sentence
- Forfeiting any legally-owned firearms
Consequences of Violating Your Probation
When you have been found to violate your probation, you will be placed under arrest and will either be held without bond until a revocation hearing or released on bond.
At a revocation hearing, the prosecutor will attempt to prove that you violated your probation. He or she will use evidence to demonstrate this. The judge will listen to the prosecutor as well as you and your attorney. You are not entitled to a jury to decide whether the terms of your probation have been violated.
If the judge finds that there was no violation, you will typically be free to finish your probation. However, if the judge agrees with the prosecutor, finding that you have violated your probation, he or she can choose to add more restrictions to your probation or even revoke your probation and send you to jail.
Is there a difference between violating regular probation and deferred probation?
Deferred adjudication probation is special probation that will often allow a defendant to get his records sealed (and avoid a final conviction) if the probation is successfully completed. In many cases, deferred adjudication probation is preferable to regular probation for this reason.
One drawback of deferred adjudication probation is that it can allow the judge to assess a longer sentence in the event the probation is not completed successfully. When a person is on regular (not deferred adjudication) probation, the maximum sentence is capped at whatever the probated sentence is. For example, if the judge placed you on regular probation for 3rd-degree felony DWI by giving you five years in prison “probated” for five years, the maximum prison sentence you can receive would be five years, in the event that you violate your probation.
With deferred adjudication probation, on the other hand, the judge has the full range of punishment available and could sentence you for up to 10 years in the above example (since the maximum sentence for a 3rd-degree felony is 10 years). This is why it can be riskier to accept deferred adjudication probation.
The Attorneys at Ceja Law Firm Help Those in Houston Who Have Been Charged with Violating Their Probation
If you or a loved one is facing allegations that you have violated your probation, it is extremely important that you consult with a qualified Texas criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A criminal defense attorney can help you to fight these charges so that you can continue to put your criminal past behind you and move forward.
At Ceja Law Firm PLLC, we understand the seriousness of such a charge and the short- and long-term impact that it can have on the rest of your life. That’s why we will work to help you obtain the best possible outcome. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!