Probation

Killeen Probation and Community Supervision Attorneys

Defending violation of probation charges in Harker Heights, Waco, Copperas Cove and across Central Texas

Probation, also called community supervision, is an alternative to jail or prison for certain criminal offenses. If you’re a first-time offender, or accused of committing a non-violent offense, you may be eligible for probation. Depending on the type of probation assigned to you by the court, you may even be able to have your criminal record wiped clean. If you violate the terms of your probation, however, you can face a variety of serious penalties.

The Killeen probation violation attorneys at the Mary Beth Harrell Law Firm provide experienced criminal defense when you’re facing criminal charges. We take your case from the very beginning, working to avoid conviction and consequences. And if you’re accused of violating the terms of your probation, we work to have it reinstated. Call us today.

What is probation in Texas?

You may be placed on probation if you’re found guilty of a criminal offense. Probation allows offenders to remain in the community and continue their lives, while under the supervision of a probation officer. However, not every person and not every criminal offense is eligible for the Texas community supervision program.

Under the Texas Code of Criminal Conduct, community supervision generally means that your jail sentence is suspended and you may remain in the community instead. You must comply with certain restrictions during the course of probation, and these terms will differ with each person and each case. However, terms of probation usually include things like community service, substance abuse counseling, fines and restrictions on owning firearms.

You may be eligible for one of two types of probation.

Types of probation

The court can assign two different types of probation, deferred adjudication or straight probation.

Here’s how deferred adjudication works. After criminal charges, if you plea “guilty” or “no contest,” a judge may choose to not enter a decision, but rather place you on probation. If you complete the terms of your probation successfully, you won’t have the criminal conviction on your record.

With straight probation, the judge finds you guilty of the criminal offense and sets the terms and length. The conviction does go on your criminal record.

What are some of the typical conditions of probation in Texas?

Chapter 42 of the Texas Criminal Code outlines many terms and conditions for community supervision. When you’re placed on probation, you must adhere to these, or risk being charged with violation of probation. In general, anyone on probation is required to:

  • Allow their probation officer to visit their home or workplace
  • Avoid individuals associated with criminal activity
  • Continue paying any spousal or child support
  • Maintain gainful employment
  • Not commit another criminal offense
  • Pay fines, fees and restitution
  • Refrain from use of alcohol or drugs
  • Remain in the county or state unless authorized by the court
  • Report regularly to a probation officer

Depending on the seriousness of your case, the court may also assign additional penalties, like sex offender registration, drunk driving education programs or drug offender programs.

Our attorneys work with prosecutors to minimize the terms and conditions of your probation, and show the court that you are not a threat to society.

Did You Know?

There are four million people on probation in the United States, approximately the population of Oklahoma. [Brennan Center for Justice]

What happens if I violate the terms of my probation or community supervision?

It’s not easy to follow all the conditions of probation. There are a lot of rules to follow and a lot of fines to pay. You might have forgotten to fill out the right paperwork if you’ve changed your address. Or missed a scheduled meeting because of car trouble.

But if your probation officer believes you’ve violated or broken the terms of your probation for any reason, you can face serious penalties. You can receive anything from a warning, to an arrest warrant, to jail time. However, you have rights and you’re entitled to a hearing to defend yourself. This is called a revocation hearing, and we can represent you, telling your side of the story and presenting a compelling defense.

With probation violation hearings, there is no jury. Instead, the judge who originally sentenced you will hear your case and make a decision. Common penalties for violation of probation can include one, some or all of the following:

  • Additional financial penalties
  • Community service
  • Electronic monitoring (ELM)
  • Mandatory completion of drug/alcohol rehabilitation program
  • Mandatory counseling
  • Maximum jail/prison sentence for original offense

Every county in Texas has their own community supervision program and office. For example, probation matters in Killeen are handled through Bell and Lampasas County offices. The probation violation lawyers at the Mary Beth Harrell Law Firm are familiar with community supervision programs throughout Texas, and can provide guidance throughout the process.

Eligibility for probation in Texas

Not everyone is eligible for community supervision. If you were convicted of a misdemeanor offense and have no prior felonies on your record, you’re likely eligible for probation. You may be eligible for probation if you committed a felony, but only if you were sentenced to less than 10 years and the felony did not include one of the following offenses:

  • Aggravated kidnapping
  • Murder
  • Injury to a child, elderly or disabled person
  • Aggravated robbery
  • Compelling prostitution
  • Sex crimes
  • Aggravated sexual assault
  • Criminal solicitation
  • Sex trafficking
  • Burglary
  • Indecency with a child
  • Sexual performance by a child

Our attorneys can talk to you about the circumstances of your offense and whether or not you may be eligible for straight probation or deferred adjudication.

Can I get out of probation early?

State law gives judges the authority to end your community supervision early if you meet certain conditions and requirements. However, this isn’t guaranteed, so even if you qualify for early termination it doesn’t necessarily mean a judge will grant it. Factors the court takes into account when considering early termination from straight probation include things like the nature of the offense, your criminal history, your probation officer’s opinion and input from the prosecutor. You should also ensure all your fines are paid in full and any counseling or treatment programs are complete. We can answer any questions you may have to ensure everything is done properly.

Killeen community supervision and probation violation lawyers

Whether you need us to fight for probation instead of jail time, or are accused of violating the terms of your probation, the attorneys at the Mary Beth Harrell Law Firm can help. We defend your rights and work to maintain your freedom, making our priority the best possible outcome for your case. Let us help. Contact us today at 254-680-4655 or by filling out our contact form. We have offices in Killeen, Copperas Cove, and Waco, and handle in-custody visits for clients who cannot come to us.