If you are on probation in Texas and violate it, you can find yourself back at square one when it comes to paying your debt to society.
In some cases, the court can send you to prison to complete your sentence. In others, they may be lenient and simply extend your probation term.
Whatever the case, it can be a confusing and scary situation. Here’s what you need to know about probation in Texas and what can happen when you violate your court-order supervision.
Community Supervision in Texas
Community supervision is another word for community corrections. The term encompasses programs that provide for those in the community who have been found guilty of a crime. They are placed under community supervision in lieu of a correctional facility.
The two most common types of community supervision in Texas are probation and parole. Learn more about each below.
This is a supervision program that works as a substitute for incarceration. When a person is found guilty of a crime and sentenced for it, the judge chooses the length of time they will spend on probation and the conditions they must adhere to under it.
You can be placed on active or inactive supervision. Active supervision means you must regularly meet with a probation officer and can have more severe conditions than inactive supervision.
Parole is different from probation in that it is for those who have already served at least part of their sentence behind bars, and have been released from prison. Offenders on parole may serve the remainder of their sentence outside of prison.
However, they are required to adhere to the conditions of parole in order not to be sent back. Parole can also be active or inactive. The conditions are based on criminal convictions and how well they’ve complied with conditions in the past.
What is a Violation of Texas Probation?
It’s important to remember that even though you are not in jail or prison during probation, you are still serving a criminal sentence. Because of this, you’re not free to do anything you want.
For the entire sentence, you must adhere to the rules set by the court for you. Breaking these is a violation of your probation and can land you in front of a judge to face consequences.
Common Terms of Probation
Every probation case is different. It is up to the judge to decide what rules to impose on you for probation. In Texas, a judge bases their decision on factors such as:
- The severity and nature of the crime that was committed
- The criminal history of the offender
- Whether or not probation is believed to be necessary
- Whether placing the offender under community supervision places the community at risk
Common terms of probation include:
- Paying fees associated with probation
- Attending regular meetings with a court-assigned probation officer
- Staying away from criminal activities or criminal associates
- Paying court costs
- Completing alcohol or drug treatment
- Not leaving the county without the approval of the probation officer
- Participating in random alcohol and drug tests
- Paying restitution to victims of the crime
- Completing assigned community service
- Not getting arrested for another crime while on probation
- Giving up any firearms you legally own
As mentioned, each case of probation is different. So, the terms and conditions of another person’s probation may not be the same as your own.
The Most Common Probation Violations in Texas
There are many ways a person can violate the terms of their probation. The most common include:
- Committing another crime
- Failing to complete required programs such as substance abuse treatment
- Failing a drug or alcohol test
- Leaving the county or state without your probation officer’s permission
- Failing to complete community service
- Failing to maintain employment
Even if the actions you take while on probation aren’t illegal, they may violate the terms of the probation you agreed to in court. And a violation could land you right back where you started.
What Happens When You Violate Texas Probation?
Violating probation can mean you will be placed under arrest. At that point, you are either released on bond or held without a bond until you can go before the judge at something called a revocation hearing.
At the revocation hearing, the judge presides over a meeting between you, your lawyer, and the prosecutor. The prosecutor will try to prove there was a probation violation with evidence.
When the judge rules that no probation violation has occurred, then you will go free and continue on with your probation.
If they rule that you did violate probation, then they can revoke your probation and send you directly to jail or they can release you but make your probation more strict.
If you’re on probation, then make sure you follow the conditions of it. Otherwise, you could find yourself facing more legal problems than you bargained for.
About the Author:
Brandon Fulgham has an in-depth understanding of both Texas law and Texans themselves. Before practicing law here, he received his undergraduate degree from TCU and his law degree from South Texas College of Law in Houston. After graduation, he worked in District Attorneys’ offices as a prosecutor, building cases designed to put people behind bars. Now, he uses that knowledge to protect the rights of people in and around Fort Worth. He has been recognized for his work by Expertise (Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Forth Worth and Best DUI Lawyers in Fort Worth, both 2020), The National Trial Lawyers, Fort Worth Magazine, and others.