Houston Probation Violation Attorney
Have you violated your probation?
If you are thinking about violating your probation, don't! If you have been accused of violating your probation, the worst thing you can do is ignore the problem.
Many people accused of crimes, whether by plea agreement or sentenced by a judge or jury, receive Community Supervision, commonly referred to as probation. When a person receives probation for a criminal charge, they are basically allowed to serve their sentence without going to jail. Many people end up on community supervision, whether "straight probation" or "deferred adjudication" because of a plea agreement - urged on them by their attorney, or because they did not feel confident taking their chances at trial, or some other reason. Few expect the difficulty they will face staying out of jail.
Make no mistake, probation is hard, very hard, particularly for people who are not used to structure, who do not have the initiative or discipline, or means, to do everything required of them. For many, it is a slow path to jail or prison. That is why experienced defense attorneys often refer to it as "deferred incarceration."
Many people incarcerated after violating their probation regret their original plea agreement. For them it may have been a plea, but no longer a bargain.
About Community Supervision
Community Supervision comes with certain guidelines known as "terms and conditions" that must be adhered to in order to avoid violation of probation. Some of the ways in which violation can occur include:
- Failing to complete community service as ordered
- Failing to complete a mandatory drug, alcohol or anger management course
- Failing to report to a probation officer as scheduled
- Associating with known criminals
- Committing another crime
- Failing a drug test
- Not paying fines and fees as ordered
More people violate their probation by not showing up to their appointments with their probation officer than probably any other violation. They are referred to as "absconders" and may be less likely to be re-instated, have their conditions modified, and more likely to be revoked, than other violators. If you are on probation, even if you are behind on your fees, community service, or late - Always Report. Any violation of terms and conditions may result in revocation, but some violations are more difficult to resolve without jail time than others.
Types of Community Supervision in Houston
Community Supervision is governed by Article 42.12 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. Different types of offenses may have unique terms and conditions. However generally there are two types of community supervision - "Straight Probation" and "Deferred Adjudication." There are two key differences between them.
"Straight probation," the accused is convicted of the crime, sentenced to a term of confinement in jail or prison, but that term is probated for a period of time. If the person violates the probation, the government may file a "Motion to Revoke Probation" and the person is, at worst, subject to confinement for the period of the initial sentence that was probated and the original fine imposed. For example, a person convicted of a third degree felony sentenced to five years in prison probated for five years may, at worst, be sentenced to five years in prison if the allegations in the "Motion to Revoke" are found true by the Court.
"Deferred Adjudication" is different. It means, literally, to put off judging guilt. If one completes the community supervision successfully, the case is dismissed and may, if eligible, be subject to an
order of nondisclosure. In "straight probation," this does not happen; the person is convicted and it is "on their record." But, if the person is alleged to have violated the terms and conditions of their community supervision, then a "Motion to Adjudicate," to go ahead and find them guilty and sentence them, is filed and the person may be sentenced to up to the maximum punishment allowed for the original offense. In the example above, a person sentenced to five years deferred adjudication for a third degree felony may be convicted and sentenced to up to ten years in prison and a ten thousand dollar fine (the maximum punishment for a third degree felony) if the allegations in the "Motion to Adjudicate" are found true.
You Can't Run Away
Running or avoiding the problem will not make it go away. It will only make it worse, as you will be treated as an "absconder." Probation is about trust. If a probationer is seen as someone who doesn't deal with their problems, the Court will do it for them, in a way they will not like.
There is no reason to run. Many people accused of violations of their community supervision are entitled to, and have, bail set. Many probationers are able to resolve their violations through modifications of their terms and conditions, which although they may impose additional burdens, are preferable to revocation and incarceration.
If you find that you have been arrested for a probation violation, contact a Houston criminal defense lawyer immediately to protect your freedom. My name is Tate Williams from Law Office of Q. Tate Williams PC and as a skilled criminal defense attorney, I am ready to vigorously fight for your rights.
Consequences of a Probation Violation
No one plans on violating their probation. But for a significant percentage of probationers that is eventually what happens. And when it does, there is no jury trial - it was likely waived under the plea agreement for probation or has already happened. There is only a hearing before a judge who only has to find the allegations of violation true by a "preponderance of the evidence," or 51%, much lower than "beyond a reasonable doubt."
Violating probation can lead to serious consequences, the most serious one that of being made to now serve the jail or prison sentence you would have initially been given if you had not received probation. It is important to avoid that if at all possible. My firm will work diligently with the court and judge to explain any violation of probation and pursue a re-instatement of the original terms provided you rectify the violation or mitigate the consequences of any punishment received.
Not all judges and courts handle probation violations the same. It is important to have a counsel who can work with you and the Court to resolve any alleged violation without the necessity of a hearing, but prepared to conduct one, if necessary.
I have successfully defended many such cases and you can count on me to do all I can on your behalf. I believe in providing my clients personalized attention and want you to know that you are not just a number to me, but someone who is placing their trust in my ability to defend you. Contact a Houston probation violation lawyer today if you have been charged or arrested with violating your probation.