Being granted probation after violating the law in Texas gives an individual the opportunity to show the court that they can live within the law. Being charged with a new criminal offense while on probation indicates just the opposite.
New criminal charges while on probation in Texas will most likely lead to your probation officer deciding you should be punished for your original offense in addition to being tried on the new charge. But punishment is not automatic. Your probation officer and a prosecutor must prove the alleged violation to a judge to have your probation revoked. Even then, the prosecutor must persuade the judge that the violation is serious enough to warrant revoking probation and imposing a sentence.
The criminal defense attorneys of Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C., in Austin, TX, believe that anyone accused of a probation violation deserves an aggressive defense. Our attorneys have successfully represented clients across Central Texas since 1963 We will do everything we can to secure the best possible outcome for you in a probation violation claim. Contact Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C. as soon as possible for a confidential consultation with a probation violation attorney.
What Is Probation in Texas?
Probation is a form of punishment for violating the law. Courts are permitted to suspend a jail or prison sentence and instead impose probation if the facts of the case warrant such leniency. Probation allows you to remain in the community instead of being incarcerated as long as you abide by the terms and conditions of your probation set by the court.
Texas courts impose two types of probation:
- Straight Probation / Community Supervision. This means a jail or prison sentence handed down by the court has been suspended, and you will remain free as long as you meet the conditions of probation.
- Deferred Adjudication. If you plead guilty or no contest, a judge may decide not to enter a finding of guilt and instead place you on Deferred Adjudication probation. If you complete the terms of the probation, the court will dismiss the charges against you, and the conviction will not appear on your criminal record.
Your probation will be imposed and supervised by officials in the county where you were charged and convicted. Probation practices and outcomes vary widely among Texas counties.
Violations That Can Cause a Probation Revocation
Any criminal charge filed against you may result in revocation of probation and imposition of the suspended sentence originally pronounced in your case. But probation typically includes many requirements, from regular meetings with a probation officer to regular drug testing (required in Travis County) and attending substance abuse treatment and aftercare (12-step groups). Ignoring them can lead to revocation, too.
General conditions of probation in Travis County include that you:
- Obey all laws
- Pay fines, court costs, probation supervision fees, drug testing fees, and other fees imposed by the court
- Pay restitution to crime victims
- Complete Community Service Restitution, work at an approved nonprofit or government agency
- Attend counseling as assigned, such as anger management, family violence, theft classes, or sex offender therapy
- Install car ignition interlock device when required after DWI-related convictions
- Report to a probation officer monthly or more often, as directed
- Avoid the use of narcotics, habit-forming drugs, alcoholic beverages, and controlled substances
- Avoid persons or places of disreputable or harmful character
- Support your dependents.
Your probation officer will monitor your compliance with the requirements of your probation and is required to act if you fail to do what is required. Your probation officer may request a warrant for your arrest if you violate probation. This will require you to return to court, where a judge may impose more conditions on your probation or revoke your probation.
If your probation is revoked, you will be required to complete the jail time or prison sentence that would have originally been imposed if you had not been granted probation.
If your probation is revoked because you have been charged with a new crime, you will almost certainly face the imposition of an active sentence if you are convicted of that offense.
What To Do if a Motion to Revoke Probation Has Been Filed
If a motion has been filed to revoke your probation, you need to contact an Austin criminal defense attorney right away.
In 2019, many Texas counties saw probation revocation rates well above the state average, according to the Texas Center for Justice and Equity (TCJE). In some counties, more than 70 percent of probation revocations were not for new crimes but for technical violations of probation conditions such as a missed appointment with a probation officer, inability to pay fines and fees, or moving outside of a strict set of geographical boundaries without permission.
More than 95 percent of individuals whose felony probations were revoked in Texas in 2019 were sent to prison or jail, the TCJE says.
In court, the prosecutor must show by a preponderance of the evidence that you violated the terms of your probation to have it revoked. This is a lower standard than proof “beyond a reasonable doubt” required in a criminal trial. The prosecutor must show only that it is more likely than not that you violated your probation.
An attorney can help you present testimony and evidence that counters the prosecution’s allegations against you. This may include evidence of mitigating factors that may persuade the judge that your violation couldn’t be avoided or was so minor that punishment is unnecessary.
It’s important to have a reputable local defense attorney who knows the court system to represent you in a probation violation hearing. Your attorney will be heard when he explains your situation and presents evidence in your favor. We may be able to keep your probation from being revoked and ensure that any additional requirements imposed are minor. If you have been charged with a new offense, we can defend you against those charges.
Contact a Probation Violation Lawyer in Austin, TX
The Austin probation violation attorneys of Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C., understand Travis County’s probation programs, including deferred adjudication. We are well known and respected in Travis County courts. We will aggressively advocate for your interests in a probation violation hearing.
For more than 60 years, our defense attorneys have stood up to Travis County prosecutors when necessary and worked with them when possible to protect the rights of clients from the Austin area. Contact us today to discuss how we can rebut the allegations against you or negotiate the best possible resolution to your probation violation case.