If you were on probation and have been accused of violating your probation, you may receive notice of a motion for probation revocation. When a person is found to have violated the terms of his or her probation, that person can face serious consequences, including jail time. A skilled criminal defense attorney will help to build a defense strategy to protect a client's freedom. To learn more about the process of probation revocation, consider contacting an experienced lawyer at Jason English Law by calling (512) 454-7548 to schedule a confidential consultation.
What Is Probation?
Probation is a legal process that allows certain defendants in criminal cases to maintain their status in the community under supervision after having been convicted of a crime. When a criminal defendant is given probation, the judge will explain the requirements that the defendant must adhere to during his or her probation period. If the defendant breaks any of the terms of that probation, he or she can be subject to probation revocation.
Types of Probation and Supervision
According to the Caldwell Community Supervision and Corrections Department, there are five types of supervision:
- Pretrial supervision—The court may require a defendant to participate in a bond supervision or pre-trial diversion program while a criminal case is pending
- Felony conviction probation—Community supervision or felony probation occurs when a person is sentenced to time in the state penitentiary or a state jail facility and the court allows the person to serve his or her time in the community under probation
- Felony deferred adjudication—In Texas, a judge can determine that sufficient evidence exists to find the defendant guilty but can put the case on hold for a certain amount of time. If, during this time, the defendant commits no other crimes and complies with the terms of probation, the case will be dismissed
- Misdemeanor conviction probation—When a defendant is given misdemeanor conviction probation, he or she may be sentenced to jail time but is, instead, allowed to serve that time in the community
- Misdemeanor deferred adjudication—If a person is sentenced to misdemeanor deferred adjudication, he or she has not been found guilty of an offense. Instead, after completing the term of probation, the charges against the defendant will be dismissed
The judge can impose various conditions on a person's release. Standard conditions of probation, or supervised release, according to the United States Probation and Pretrial Services of the Northern District of Texas, may include the following:
- Meeting with a probation officer at specific intervals
- Not violating any laws
- Not leaving the jurisdiction of the court
- Answering any questions from the probation officer truthfully
- Living at a place approved by the probation officer
- Working full time while on probation
- Providing the probation officer with updates about residence or work
- Consenting to searches
- Not interacting with someone involved in a crime or another felon
- Notifying the probation officer if questioned by police or arrested
These are the standard conditions. A defendant must follow the specific conditions that are explained by the judge as subject to the probation. For example, probation terms may require the defendant to submit to drug testing, take part in counseling, or pay certain fines.
Violations that Can Lead to Probation Revocation
Substantive violations of probation generally lead to probation revocation. Substantive violations typically break a term of probation in such a manner that can amount to a criminal case.
What Happens When Your Probation Is Revoked in Texas?
If a person is found to have violated his or her probation, that person might face serious consequences that can include:
- Imposition of original sentence
- Stricter terms of probation
- New criminal charges
Imposition of Original Sentence
The court can send the defendant to jail to serve out the sentence that was originally given by the judge at the sentencing hearing.
Stricter Terms of Probation
The judge might allow the defendant to continue probation under stricter terms, such as:
- Charging a fine
- Increasing the length of probation
- Requiring counseling
New Criminal Charges
If the violation involved the commission of an additional crime, the defendant may face new criminal charges in addition to any penalties for violating the terms of probation.
What Is the Process of Revocation?
Before a defendant faces any of the consequences listed above, he or she will be notified of the motion for probation revocation. The probation officer begins the process of revoking probation by notifying the district attorney of the violation. The district attorney then files a motion to revoke probation and asks the judge to order the revocation of probation. A revocation hearing is scheduled, and the defendant has the opportunity to defend against the allegations that he or she violated the terms of probation.
Because of the possible consequences of a probation revocation, a defendant may wish to consult with an experienced attorney prior to the hearing. A criminal defense lawyer from Jason English Law may be able to help.
Probation Revocation Hearing
At the probation revocation hearing, the State will attempt to prove the allegations made by the probation officer. Unlike in a regular criminal trial, the burden of proof is not “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Instead, it is by “the preponderance of the evidence,” a much lower standard. Rules of evidence may also be relaxed, making it easier for the State to prove the allegations.
A probation revocation hearing does not have to result in the revocation of a defendant's probation. The judge can decide that he or she did not actually violate the terms of probation or that the alleged violation was not serious enough to warrant significant consequences. Even if the judge finds a violation, the judge can decide to reinstate probation.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer for Help with Your Probation Revocation
If you have been notified that your probation may be revoked, an experienced probation revocation lawyer may be able to help. If you would like to discuss what happened in your case and have legal help as you investigate the circumstances surrounding the alleged probation violation, consider contacting Jason English Law at (512) 454-7548 to schedule a confidential case review.