What Texas says on Probation Violation
Probation in Texas is like a second shot for people caught up in legal trouble, giving them a chance to turn things around. But it’s not always an easy ride, and when the rules of probation are broken, it creates big problems for both the people on probation and the legal system.
Regardless of the situation, it can often be quite perplexing and terrifying. Let’s break down what you should understand about probation in Texas and what can go down when you break the rules set by the court.
What is Probation?
In Texas, if someone is convicted, the judge may offer probation instead of jail time. They must follow specific rules, monitored by a probation officer. Terms of your probation vary by case, with felonies having stricter conditions. The court considers the criminal offense severity, criminal history, and public safety when deciding.
Probation is a punishment given by the court instead of going to jail. A judge, not a jury, decides on this sentence. It’s often given to people who are in trouble for the first time or for less serious crimes.
Types of Probation Terms
If you commit a felony crime, you might have to do at least 18 months of probation. During this time, someone from the Department of Corrections will keep an eye on you. This supervision can involve mandatory counseling, regular check-ins, curfews, GPS tracking, and drug tests, among other requirements.
Usually, for misdemeanor probation, the person has to follow the law, regularly meet with the probation officer, go to legal meetings, and get permission to travel across state borders.
Deferred Adjudication Probation
If someone violates probation during deferred adjudication, they’ll face the full range of criminal charges for the specific crime, rather than just those for a misdemeanor. This means the consequences are more substantial for probation violations.
Common Probation Terms
Probation is a legal opportunity with specific rules that must be violated. These conditions include:
- Follow all laws
- Don’t commit new crimes
- Regularly meet with a probation officer
- Stay away from drugs and alcohol
- Attend meetings for addiction recovery
- See a counselor regularly
- Do community supervision or service
- Pay fines and restitution
- Stick to a curfew
- Stay within an assigned travel area
- Avoid contact with criminals
- Keep a job or seek work if unemployed
- Don’t carry firearms
Understanding Probation Violation in Texas
According to the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, a court orders a person in a program with rules and conditions for a set time. This happens in two ways:
- Criminal proceedings are delayed without a guilt decision.
- A sentence involving fines, jail, or confinement is put on hold, and the judgment is postponed.
Basically, it means the court holds off on making a decision, and instead of paying fines or going to jail, the person needs to stick to probation rules. Being on probation requirements comes with specific rules, and if you violates the term, it’s considered a probation violation. Even if you’re not in jail, being on probation is like serving a sentence, so there are still restrictions on what you can do.
Types of Probation Violation
A technical violation happens when you don’t meet a particular condition of your probation, like doing community service or taking a drug test. It’s not about committing new crimes, just not keeping up with what you agreed to do during probation.
Substantive violations mean getting into new trouble, like committing new crimes or getting arrested again. These new crimes come with their own punishments and can also make the consequences for the original offense even worse.
What Happens When You Violate Probation?
If someone on probation messes up for the first time or it’s not a big deal, their probation officer might just give them a warning. This is more likely if they have a good relationship with their officer.
- More Time on Probation
The judge could make the probation last longer, depending on how serious the violation is, the person’s history, the reason for the violation, and some other factors.
- Stricter Probation Terms
The judge can extend probation and add more rules, like increased fines or community service. If someone breaks a specific rule, like travel restrictions, the judge might limit where they can go, make them wear a GPS tracker, or enforce a curfew.
- Time in Jail
Probation is an alternative to jail, but a violation might lead to a few days in jail, either all at once or on weekends. For serious violations, the judge could make the person complete the remaining sentence in jail or prison.
- Extra Rules
Judges can also add more things to the list of probation rules. The community service hours might go up a lot, fines could get bigger, and the person might have to attend more addiction recovery meetings or check in with their probation officer more often.
Arrested? Don’t Plea, Call Me!
In Texas, probation violations are serious, but they’re not the end. Understand your probation terms, know the consequences, and get criminal defense attorney‘s help when needed. With the right guidance, probation violation is just a detour, not a dead end.