Anytime someone violates the terms of their probation, they risk incurring a warrant for their arrest and legal penalties that may include going to jail or prison.
If you are found guilty of a crime, a judge may sentence you to probation in lieu of incarceration. Probation allows a person to live and work in their community as long as they adhere to the terms of their probation.
These terms often pertain to the nature of the convicted offense, but most generally prohibit the person on probation from using illegal drugs, adhering to a curfew, reporting to a probation officer, and following all other court orders.
Common Probation Violations
Probation violations come in all shapes and sizes, so to speak. There are many minor and significant ways someone can incur a probation violation, even inadvertently, so it’s important to remain vigilant with one’s conduct and communicative with one’s probation officer to avoid misunderstandings and mistakes.
Examples of common probation violations include the following:
- Failing drug and alcohol tests
- Getting arrested for a separate criminal offense
- Being convicted of another crime while on probation
- Traveling out of the state or country without the probation officer or court’s approval
- Failing to pay court costs, including fines
- Failing to complete court-ordered community service
- Failing to maintain employment, including quitting a job
Any of the events above and many others can constitute a probation violation. When you believe you may be in violation of your probation, or are suspected of it by someone else, you should consult with a criminal defense attorney for help.
Penalties for Violating Probation in Texas
A probation violation can resolve in more ways than one, and not all of them involve incarceration. While it’s possible to avoid jail and prison in spite of a probation violation, it may be wise to prepare for that possibility.
1. You Might Get a Warning
When you are found in violation of the terms of your probation, what happens from this point on is up to your probation officer. If this is your first probation violation and/or it’s very minor, the officer may decide to let you off with a warning. The chances of this may be greater if you and your probation officer have a positive relationship and you otherwise demonstrate diligence when it comes to adhering to your probation order.
2. You Might Go to Court
If your probation officer doesn’t offer leniency, you can be arrested and ordered to appear for a probation violation hearing. Even this, however, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to jail.
At this hearing, the judge will evaluate your alleged probation violation and hear your defense. You’ll want to have an experienced criminal defense attorney help you with this. This hearing can also resolve with a warning, but the judge might order penalties.
3. Your Probation May Be Extended
Whether in terms of your probation’s duration or the scope of restrictions imposed against you, a judge may extend your probation. If your probation violation involved going somewhere you shouldn’t have, the judge may order you to wear a GPS tracker. If you came home later than your curfew, your freedom to move around may be restricted to commuting for work and necessary errands.
4. You Might Be Sent to Jail
Probation is originally ordered as an alternative to jail, so violating the terms of probation always puts someone at risk of going to jail. At the hearing for an alleged violation, the judge may order the probationer to jail for a short period, which may be served consecutively or on the weekends. In more severe scenarios, the judge revokes probation and orders the probationer to serve the remainder of their sentence in jail or prison.
Contact Alband, Lane & Balderrama for Legal Help
For legal assistance with any matter involving criminal defense, such as an alleged probation violation, reach out to Alband, Lane & Balderrama for assistance. Our experienced and capable legal team can respond to any legal matter those accused of crimes need help resolving. With our assistance, it’s possible to keep the door to a brighter future open.
For more information about how Alband, Lane & Balderrama can help, contact our firm online.