Probation is a common penalty for a variety of charges in Texas. Many people end up on probation and find that it seriously hampers their daily life. Still, it’s often better than the alternative.
That said, there are many terms that are frequently part of probation, and it’s all too easy to violate them through no fault of your own.
Regardless of your intentions, a probation violation is still a violation and can result in further charges. Even minor infractions can lead to your probationary period being extended, giving you more time to accidentally violate terms again. It’s a vicious cycle.
One Dallas man has had his probation extended from five years to 12 because of technical violations. Don’t be that guy. Learn the terms of your probations, and know the penalties you could face if you don’t. Here are some of the most common probation terms in Texas…
Probation Terms in Texas
There are many common probation terms that are easy to violate by accident. They all have penalties for violations, and it’s all too easy for them to stack up. Knowing when it’s time to get a lawyer involved in your probation violation case can save you years of time.
Mandatory Probation Meetings
The most common term for probation is meeting regularly with your probation officer. These meetings are mandatory, and often scheduled inconveniently. Failing to report for your scheduled meeting is a probation violation. Your probation officer is the only one who can allow you to reschedule a meeting, so your ability to work around life circumstances is limited.
In many cases, probation comes with the requirement that you abstain from using alcohol or drugs. Your compliance with this term is tested with regular drug tests. Sometimes, you may be required to report for random drug testing. Failing a drug test or being found positive for alcohol is a frequent probation violation.
Many crimes that involved drugs or antisocial activity will have mandatory activities attached to probation. For example, drug or DUI convictions might lead to mandatory rehabilitation classes. Similarly, damaging someone else’s property, shoplifting, or DUIs might involve community service requirements. If you don’t complete the required courses or community service within the probation period, you have violated your probation, and can lead to further charges.
Fines or Restitution
Fines or monetary restitution are other common penalties for crimes that lead to probation. These fines need to be paid within a certain time period, depending on the charge. If you do not pay the fine in the given time, it is considered a probation violation. Considering that some fines can be upwards of $10,000, this is a significant financial imposition that you might not be able to meet.
Following the Law
If you face any new charges, criminal or otherwise, your probation is considered to be violated. Arrests, DUIs, and non-criminal charges all count towards this. This is one of the most likely violations to lead to probation-related charges.
Penalties for Texas Probation Violations
Once your probation officer has been notified of your probation violation, how your case is handled is often up to them. Probation officers have a lot of discretion when it comes to whether you’re charged.
If your officer has already issued you at least one warning, or if the violation is serious, then they may file a motion to revoke your probation. That will lead to a warrant for your arrest and a hearing for your new violation charges.
Depending on the violation and the crime for which you are on probation, the judge has significant discretion regarding new penalties. Your probation can be revoked or extended. You can be required to attend more rehabilitation courses. You may even face additional jail time.
Accused of Violating Your TX Probation? When to Get a Lawyer
If you have a probation violation charge, you are in a difficult situation. These charges are penalized based on the discretion of the judge. A probation violation is not eligible for a jury trial. On your own, these charges can eat up your life, or even put you directly back into jail.
Your first move should be to collect the information regarding your exact violation. Take this information to a lawyer you trust. You should not discuss the violation with your probation officer or police officers before you get an attorney.
Instead, wait until you have your lawyer present, so you can work together to get your probation reinstated.
The worst outcome for a probation violation is having your probation revoked and being sent to prison. This can seriously derail your life. A good attorney can help you work with the legal system without incriminating yourself. If you have a probation violation charge, your first step should always be to get legal help.
About the Author:
After getting his Juris Doctor from the University of Houston Law Center, Jeff Hampton began practicing criminal law in Texas in 2005. Before becoming a defense attorney, he worked as a prosecutor for the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office – experience he uses to anticipate and cast doubt on the arguments that will be used against his clients. Over the course of his career, he has helped countless Texans protect their rights and get the best possible outcome in their criminal cases. His skill has earned him recognition from the National Trial Lawyers (Top 100 Trial Lawyers) and Avvo (Top Attorney in Criminal Defense, Top Attorney in DUI & DWI, 10/10 Superb Rating), and he is Lead Counsel rated.