Facing a Probation Revocation in Tarrant County? Call me today for immediate help!
Are you facing a probation revocation in the Fort Worth or Tarrant County, Texas area? A probation revocation case is a serious matter! If you do not manage your probation revocation properly, you could be looking at a prison or jail sentence up to the maximum amount of time permitted under your range of punishment. If you have been informed you have a probation revocation warrant or soon will be receiving a warrant, you need a plan of action on how to keep your freedom! That starts with hiring the best probation revocation lawyer in Fort Worth to ensure you are treated fairly.
Receiving a phone call from your probation officer informing you that Tarrant County Probation is seeking to revoke your probation and sentence you to jail or prison time can be one of the most frightening and confusing experiences a person can have. Is there a way to avoid going to jail? Can you fight the revocation?
First and foremost, you must remember that it is in your best interest not to speak to your probation officer about any of the alleged violations of your probation. By speaking to your probationer officer, you expose yourself to questioning that could lead to admissions that could be used against you in court.
Is it possible your probation officer could misunderstand your explanation? Is it possible the probation officer has already made up their mind about your situation and nothing you say will prevent your revocation? It is critical to remember that everything you say to your probation officer will be written down and used against you. However, if you hire a probation revocation attorney to help you with the case, the statements made by your lawyer can NOT be used against you at a hearing.
If the state of Texas has reason to believe that you have violated the terms of your probation, the State could file a motion to revoke your probation. The technical term for the legal document is “petition to proceed to adjudicate.” This petition requires the State of Texas to outline the specific violations they are relying upon to revoke your probation. This document should be one of the first things your criminal attorney should obtain to defend your probation case.
If you are currently on probation, you were told that violating the terms of your probation could result in the imposition of the maximum prison term or jail term allowable under Texas law.
Probation Violations That Can Get Your Probation Revoked
Examples of conduct frequently used by the state of Texas as a basis to revoke someone’s probation include:
- failure to report and meet with your probation officer
- failure to pay fines or restitution
- failure to complete drug treatment classes or community service
- testing positive for drug or alcohol
- leaving the county without permission
- failure to maintain employment
- getting arrested and charged with a new misdemeanor or felony crime
Can My Probation Be Revoked For Being Behind On Payments?
In theory, NO! Under Texas criminal law, you are not permitted to be revoked on a misdemeanor or felony probation for non-payment of fees and fines UNLESS it can be proven that you could pay and chose not to pay. It is common practice for probation officers and courts to threaten to revoke your probation and send you to prison if you do not pay your probation fines and fees. However, it is critical that you are working with an experienced and aggressive criminal lawyer that has a proven track record of protecting people from probation revocation proceedings so that you are not taken advantage of in a situation like this.
What To Do If You Have A Positive Drug Test While On Probation
If you are on probation in Texas and your probation officer contacts you and informs you that you have tested positive for a drug violation, what do you do? A positive drug test is one of the most common probation violations so probation officers are always on guard looking to see if a positive drug test should lead to a sanction.
It is important to understand that the State of Texas has a “progressive sanctions” approach to probation. In other words, every time you violate a term or condition of probation, a record is kept of the violation and each new violation will result in a progressively more severe sanction.
For example, if you test positive for drug use the first time, the probation department may want you to do a weekend in jail or enroll in standard outpatient drug treatment as a new condition of your probation. Although you were sanctioned for this violation, a record is kept, and any future violations will result in a more extreme sanction.
Continuing our example from above, if you test positive for drug use a second time, your probation officer may now require you to provide a TAIP assessment to determine if you have a serious drug addiction that requires more intense treatment. Alternatively, your probation officer may skip straight to intensive treatment options by claiming you need SAFP, IDT or ISF. A brief description of each of these treatment options is provided below:
Substance Abuse Felony Punishment (SAFP): SAFP is a substance abuse program run by the State of Texas designed to place probationers with drug issues in a jail facility where intensive drug treatment is provided. The program is broken down into four phases. The in-patient portion of the drug treatment occurs over a six-to-nine-month period where an intense curriculum of drug rehabilitation is provided. Phase 2 of the program involves a three-month transition from in-patient back into the community. The program requires support from peers and family involvement to optimize the reintroduction back into normal living situations, including employment.
Intensive Day Treatment (IDT): IDT is a treatment program that requires a probation to remain incarcerated while they receive drug rehabilitation treatment through jail services. If you are on probation in Tarrant County, Texas, this program is provided through the Tarrant County jail services. The program typically takes 90 days to complete.
Intermediate Sanctions Facility (ISF): ISF is a treatment program that address diverse needs. If it is determined that a probationer needs cognitive behavioral treatment, a 45-day format is available but if the probationer requires a substance abuse treatment option, a 90-day program will be required. This program requires the probationer to remain in custody for the duration of the treatment.
Most clients we represent prefer not to be required to submit to inpatient treatment while on probation. However, without a probation lawyer collaborating with the judge, the prosecutor and the probation department, it is likely that you will have few alternatives if one of these inpatient options has been recommended.
How To Get Out Of Jail On A Probation Revocation Warrant
If you have been informed that you have a warrant for your arrest on a probation violation or your loved one has been arrested for a probation violation, it is critical to hire an experienced and aggressive probation attorney that can get in front of the judge as soon as possible.
The first question you must answer to process out of jail for a probation revocation is whether the judge must set a bond on your probation case. If you received a deferred adjudication probation, you were not convicted of your crime and your criminal attorney can feel confident that the judge will be required to set a bond for your probation revocation. However, if you received a straight probation, you may not be eligible for a bond to be set. To be clear, a judge is not required to set a bond on a straight probation under Texas law. Why? Because under a straight probation, the probationer has been found guilty and it is not based upon the judge’s discretion as to whether a bond should be set prior to the probation revocation hearing.
For example, in Tarrant County, Texas, it is common that most judges will place a hold on a probationer when a probation revocation warrant is issued. This means that you will not receive a bond once you have been arrested. To post bond and be released, your probation attorney will be required to make a formal request to the judge to set a bond.
Many Tarrant County judges will require that the probationer have their fines and fees caught up to current requirements before a bond will be set. Many times, this requires the family of the probationer to work with their probation revocation lawyer to determine the amounts in arrears and make payment to get a bond set by the judge.
Whether you have violated a procedural requirement of your probation, such as failing to pay court-ordered fees or complete a class or have been arrested and charged with a new criminal offense, you need the skill of an experienced attorney to protect your freedom.
If your attorney is unable to negotiate with the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office and the Tarrant County Criminal Court to reinstate your probation, you have two options to resolve your probation revocation proceeding: First, have your attorney thoroughly prepare a strong defense to present before the judge which would prevent a prison or jail sentence. Second, negotiate a plea on the motion to adjudicate to limit any punishment.
If you are facing a probation revocation proceeding in a Tarrant County criminal court, it is important to understand your rights and options provided to you by law. If you have been informed by your probation officer that you have violated a condition of your probation while on deferred adjudication or after being convicted and having the sentence probated, you no longer have the right to a jury trial or proceeding. Under Texas law, only a judge (not a jury) is permitted to hear evidence and decide whether to impose any punishment.
Probation revocation hearings are a high risk/high reward situation. If you prevail at your hearing, the judge will be required to reinstate your probation. However, if the State of Texas proves the alleged violations, the judge is permitted to sentence anywhere within the range of punishment for your crime if you received deferred adjudication.
The best probation revocation attorneys fight to get your probation reinstated without the risk of a hearing. To accomplish this goal, it requires your criminal attorney to negotiate with three parties: the judge, the prosecutor, and the probation department. Experienced probation lawyers will work to establish an ally with either the prosecutor or probation officer by explaining the background and contextual information that mitigates the allegations and then coming to speak to the judge to attempt a resolution that protects the probationer from the risk of an unfair jail or prison sentence. Do not show up to your probation meeting or hearing without a plan of action! Most of the work to obtain a favorable result on a probation revocation case takes place by your attorney behind the scenes long before the probation case goes to a formal hearing.
What Is Your Next Move?
First, do not speak to your probation officer about the facts of your case. The last thing you need to do is place yourself in a position of questioning from your probation officer. Simply inform your probation officer that you are happy to answer any questions they have when your lawyer is present. Second, immediately contact The Hampton Criminal Defense Attorneys, PLLC so that our team of experienced criminal defense attorneys can contact your probation officer and begin to work with probation, the Tarrant County Criminal Court, and a Tarrant County Assistant Criminal District Attorney to negotiate a possible reinstatement of your probation.
The Hampton Criminal Defense Attorneys, PLLC is a team of former prosecutors with over 80 years of criminal law experienced and over five hundred criminal jury trials. We have managed thousands of probation revocation cases in Texas and stand ready to help you! Call now!
Contact the Hampton Criminal Defense Attorneys, PLLC now to schedule a free consultation
to determine your rights and legal options.