What Happens if I Violate Probation?Violating your probation can cause you some big problems with the Texas criminal justice system. Being put on probation in the first place means that the court trusted you enough to sentence you to probation instead of jail, so any violation of those conditions won’t be taken lightly. If you’re facing criminal charges or have already been placed on probation, you should understand exactly what probation means and what consequences you may face if you violate it.

What is probation?

Rather than being sent to jail, a defendant can be put on probation. This is also called “community supervision,” and a defendant can be sent home to their community where they can provide financial support for themselves and their family. In many cases, this also helps a first-time defendant avoid the trauma of jail time. It’s important to note, however, that probation doesn’t mean a defendant can just do whatever they want. Probation comes with a long list of requirements and terms that, if violated, can result in serious consequences.

What are common probation violations?

Even an act that isn’t inherently illegal can constitute a probation violation, which can land you in legal hot water. The type of violation depends on the type of probation you’re under, but some of the more common include:

  • Committing another criminal act
  • Leaving the state or county without permission
  • Failing a substance abuse test
  • Failing to check in with your probation officer
  • Failing to keep a job
  • Failing to perform assigned community service
  • Failure to complete required diversion or educational programs
  • Failure to pay court costs
  • Failure to report for a substance abuse test

This is just a partial list. Remember, you may have a valid reason for missing an appointment, but the courts have little tolerance for probation violations. A solid criminal defense attorney can help you plead your case.

What if I’m accused of violating probation in Texas?

If you’ve been accused of violating your probation, the court will usually begin a probation revocation. This depends on what type of probation you’re currently assigned, and will involve either a Motion to Revoke Probation or a Motion to Adjudicate (if you are on deferred adjudication). Next, the court issues an arrest warrant and schedules a revocation hearing.

Revocation hearings are held in front of a judge with no jury. They involve the prosecutor, you, and your defense attorney. The prosecutor must prove by a preponderance of evidence that you violated your probation, and your attorney has the opportunity to defend your case. If the judge rules in your favor, everything proceeds as normal and you continue on probation as scheduled.

However, if the judge rules that you did indeed violate your probation, you may face the following penalties:

  • Probation is revoked and you are sent to jail
  • You are released but the terms of probation are tightened

A probation violation will likely bar you from eligibility for early termination of the program, and will not count toward any time served in jail.

If you’re facing a probation violation, it’s time to call the criminal defense attorneys at the Mary Beth Harrell Law Firm. We have decades of combined experience representing individuals accused of felonies and misdemeanors, and protect your rights throughout the process. To set up a consultation, call us today at 254-680-4655 or visit our contact page. We are here to serve you from our offices in Killeen and Copperas Cove.