Probation Violations in Houston

Community Supervision in Harris County

Community Supervision (or probation as it used to be officially called) is an alternative to jail or prison time that most individuals who are convicted of or plead guilty to minor or first-time offender crimes receive and who show remorse or take responsibility for their actions. Provided that they follow certain rules and legal restrictions, the person on probation is allowed to go about their daily lives. Following these rules can sometimes be difficult and these rules can easily get broken when they interrupt the normal routine of life.  A Houston probation violation attorney can greatly assist you if you have violated the rules of your probation are facing jail or prison time, especially if you are facing additional criminal charges.

Terms of Community Supervision in Texas

When you plead guilty and receive community supervision, the Judge will have you agree to certain terms. Based on your specific needs and your perceived level of risk, the court will set out certain special terms, but during the course of community supervision there is also a set of standard conditions that must be met.

These standard conditions include the following:

  • You must commit no other crimes while on community supervision.
  • Avoid habits that are considered vicious or injurious, including the use of alcohol or illegal drugs.
  • Keep away from disreputable people or places (e.g. gang members or bars)
  • Meet with your assigned probation officer right after your supervision hearing and no less than once per month thereafter while on probation.
  • Allow your probation officer to visit you at work, home or elsewhere.
  • Follow the regulations and rules set forth by the probation department in your county.
  • Maintain a job while on probation. If you switch jobs, you must immediately notify your probation officer.
  • Stay in your county of residence unless you have permission to leave.
  • Pay your child support as required by law.
  • Submit to random drug testing.
  • Pay any fees, fines or restitution ordered by the probation department.

If you violate any of these rules or conditions, it usually results in serious consequences. Failing to report to the probation officer (also referred to as absconding) or committing another crime are the most serious violations and often will result in the person receiving the maximum sentence for their original offense plus the new offense or any appropriate penalties for juvenile delinquency.

Probation Violation Defense

If you missed an appointment with your probation officer and that is your violation and you have a good reason for it, then negotiating with the probation officer and the prosecutor is important because it may lessen any damage that could be done to your case.

The process becomes more complex and delicate if you have been charged with committing a new crime while on probation. Your criminal defense attorney has to address both the charges for the violation of probation as well as for the new offense.

Either way, any additional jail time or penalties can be lessened if you have a skilled attorney working hard to investigate the details of your violations of probation and the circumstances surrounding those violations.

Possible Penalties for Violating Probation

In the case of a violation of probation, the court may impose additional penalties and fines. These penalties include:

  • Serving the original maximum jail or prison sentence
  • Additional community service hours
  • Court fees
  • Fines
  • Mandatory drug / alcohol rehabilitation programs
  • Mandatory counseling services

Depending on the circumstances of your particular violation of probation, these penalties can vary quite a bit. It is definitely in your best interest to lessen the problems that will occur from a violation of probation in Texas by doing everything you can. If you have been accused of violating the terms of your probation, talking with a defense attorney can greatly help you in arguing your case to the court.

Deferred Adjudication

When a person receives deferred adjudication probation, it means that the judge makes a finding that there is sufficient evidence to find you guilty of the crime but decides to defer (to put off) a judgment of guilty. So long as you follow the rules of deferred adjudication, you will not be found guilty and will not have a criminal conviction.

In some cases, the judge may find that there is enough evidence to successfully convict you of a crime but decide to defer judgment. This is known as deferred adjudication, and it is similar to community supervision in some ways.

There are a few important differences between the two types of probation.

If you violate the rules of deferred adjudication, the judge can sentence you to the full range of punishment as there is no set maximum penalty unlike straight probation.

On the positive side, after a set amount of time, with a successful completion of deferred adjudication, you can file a petition for non-disclosure. If granted, this will allow you to seal the case from your criminal records, thus preventing employers and private individuals from gaining access to the criminal record of the case.

IMG_2923bWhether you are accused of violating your probation or accused of a new criminal offense, find a Houston criminal defense attorney who will aggressively defend you and work for the best possible result in your criminal or juvenile trial.  You do not have to feel intimidated by the Texas legal system.  Contact Houston Criminal Lawyer James Sullivan at (281) 546-6428.  Sullivan gets proven results. Sullivan attended Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyers College and was invited to join The National Trial Lawyers association.


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