We all make mistakes. Unfortunately, a momentary lapse in judgment can lead to lasting consequences, including criminal charges and penalties, if convicted. However, the Texas court system recognizes that most people are capable of change, and they may sentence a defendant to probation instead of jail time. While probation allows the defendant to work, provide financial support to their family, and avoid incarceration, they must adhere to the terms of their probation, which can be strict. Any violations of these probation conditions can lead to further consequences, including the potential for a longer probation period or even jail time. Let’s take a look at some of the possible consequences you could face for a probation violation in Pearland or Brazoria County.
Understanding Probation in Texas
When the Texas court finds a defendant guilty of a criminal offense, the judge may recommend a sentence of probation rather than incarceration. Instead of spending time behind bars, the person can continue working and supporting their family—but they must abide by the terms of their probation. A probation officer will supervise the defendant during the probation period to ensure that the defendant is following through with and honoring the conditions of probation. It’s important to note that the terms of probation vary from case to case, as felony probation tends to last longer and involve more requirements than misdemeanor probation. As the court determines the terms of probation for a specific case, it will consider the nature and severity of the offense, the defendant’s criminal history, whether jail seems necessary for the defendant, and whether community supervision would pose a threat to the public.
Common Terms of Probation For Texas Defendants
Although the terms of probation vary on a case-by-case basis, most defendants can expect to face certain restrictions as they begin the probationary period. For instance, they can expect to attend regular meetings with their probation officer, pay probation fees and court costs, obtain approval from the probation officer before leaving the state, and stay away from criminal associates or activities. Other potential terms include completing drug or alcohol treatment, consenting to random drug or alcohol testing, making restitution payments to victims of the crime, relinquishing firearms in the defendant’s possession, and performing community service. Additionally, those on probation must avoid getting arrested or charged with another crime.
When Law Enforcement Suspects a Probation Violation
You can expect to face consequences for violating the terms of your probation. If your probation officer catches you breaking a relatively minor term of probation (i.e., falling behind on community services), or if this is your first probation violation, the officer may decide to let you off with a warning—especially if you have gained their trust by remaining in compliance up until this point. However, more serious or subsequent violations can result in harsher penalties.
The Revocation Hearing
If law enforcement or prosecutors suspect that you have violated the terms of your probation, they can file a motion to revoke probation and petition the court to issue an arrest warrant. Once you’re arrested, you must appear at a revocation hearing. Prosecutors will make their case before the judge to show that you violated the terms of your probation. The judge can decide whether to revoke your probation and send you to jail or release you with amendments to your probation.
Deferred Adjudication and Probation Violation
If you went to court for the original offense and the judge deferred the verdict because you pleaded guilty, you must complete the probation sentence before the charge can be dismissed. However, if you violate your probation and the judge revokes it, the original case may resume. This means that the case will proceed to sentencing, and the judge can issue a jail sentence according to the penalties associated with the original criminal offense. It’s essential that you contact a skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyer right away if you’re accused of violating your probation.
Defending Your Freedom and Future
When the court sentences you to probation instead of jail time, it’s natural to feel relieved and grateful that you can continue to enjoy most of your freedoms. However, any missteps can jeopardize this second chance at life. If your probation officer or Texas law enforcement accuses you of violating your probation, contact a dedicated and experienced criminal defense attorney right away. Your lawyer will assess the specifics of your case and help you identify the most strategic path forward. Now is not the time to leave your future up to chance—enlist the services of an attorney who will advocate aggressively to protect your freedom and future.
If you are facing criminal charges in Pearland or Brazoria County, call the Law Offices of Keith G. Allen, PLLC, immediately at (832) 230-0075 to arrange a free consultation with a trusted and experienced attorney.