Probation Violations

Probation Violation Laws

A conviction is difficult, especially the penalties. One of the penalties is probation. What this means is that an individual serves a suspended jail sentence, allowing them go on with their life outside of jail as long as they comply with the terms of their probation. If probation is violated, then the person may have to complete the suspended jail sentence in jail and/or pay fines.

Probation is sometimes part or all of a criminal defendant’s sentence. Probation allows an individual to remain a member of the community after his or her jail time (if any) has been successfully completed. A probation violation can send that individual to jail or have other adverse consequences.

The courts are able to legally grant second chances to criminals in many different ways such as expunction and pardoning a crime. Another way that a convicted criminal can regain a similitude of freedom is through completing probation. Probation is a period of time when the convict is not incarcerated and is subject to a plethora of rules, meetings, and regulations if they want to stay out of jail. A convict can be given probation to complete the remaining time of a jail sentence or even in lieu of going to jail at all. Probation is an option for many misdemeanors and “probation-able” felonies.

Probation: Not the Same as Parole

It’s important to not confuse probation and parole :

  • Probation follows a county jail sentence or is given as the sole consequence of a crime, with no jail time.
  • Parole follows a state prison sentence. It is granted after a convicted person serves time in prison.

Probation Violation Defense

Your attorney will listen to you and the reason why the probation violation accusation was made. It is very important that as many details as possible are provided and that any proof is presented so a strong defense can be built.

There are different reasons why probation violations occur. They include missing a court date, not checking in with the probation officer, testing positive for drugs or alcohol on a drug test, not reporting a change of address, or committing another criminal offense. All of these are violations of standard probation terms and they can be classified as direct violations or technical violations.

  • Direct violation – An intentional violation, such as the commission of a crime or failing a drug or alcohol test. If pleading innocent to a direct violation, you will need to provide proof that you didn’t intentionally violate your probation.
  • Technical violation – While you will need to provide proof, sometimes a technical violation is easier to prove in that technical violations include such things as communication errors that occur when there is a change in probation officer, reporting a change of address that wasn’t recorded, failing a drug test because you were legitimately prescribed a narcotic by a doctor, or believing that it was time for your probation to be over.

Even if the violation was a direct violation, there may be strategies that can be used to avoid the maximum consequences. Any and every resource will be used to help you get past this charge and move forward again. If you plead guilty to a probation violation, you are accepting the sentence that the court decides to be appropriate. However, the circumstances surrounding the violation will determine how serious the consequences will be.

You must follow the rules of your probation

As stated before, if allowed to be on probation, the convict must adhere to rules set by the court and their probation officers. Many of these regulations include keeping a distance from certain areas, for example, a school, if they are a sex offender, abiding by a curfew, keeping a job, and living in a specific area.

There are a few levels of probation and they are intensive, standard, unsupervised, and informal probation. The intensive supervision requires the convicted person to constantly be tracked and many times to stay inside the confines of their homes. Under standard and unsupervised supervision, the convict is required to meet on a regular basis with their probation officers and, with outstanding progress, can be taken off of probation.

The most relaxed form of probation is informal supervision where the convicted criminal is not required to meet with their probation officers but they are subject to drug testing and occasional searches. Regardless of the level of probation sentenced, the rights given through the Fourth Amendment, guarding citizens from unlawful search and seizure, are immediately revoked. Probation cannot be taken lightly or seen as an opportunity to deceive the law and its apparent mercy.

How to avoid a violation

Avoiding a possible violation of probation is very easy; one just has to adhere to the rules set by the court at their sentencing. For instance, if a condition of a convicted stalker’s probation is to never contact their victim, through any medium, then they should refrain from doing so. But, if the court discovers that the convict has sent a letter to the victim regardless of the innocence or intention, that is a direct violation of their probation and the appropriate consequences will follow.

Also, if a convict who is on probation misses their meetings with an appointed probation officer, then that officer can re-enter their case back into the legal system and the convict’s sentence will be at the discretion of a judge. Therefore, the best way to avoid violations of probation is to adhere strictly to the conditions of their sentence and to live a reformed life to show the court that their decision has made a beneficial impact on the convict and in society.

This is a very serious offense

Violating probation is a serious matter because it could jeopardize the convict’s ability to retain probation or it could nullify the agreement with the court and put them in prison. A violation of probation is when any term of the probation is broken. Terms of the probation could include abstaining from drugs and if during a drug check, traces of drugs are found in the body of the convict, they are in complete violation of their probation.

Probation is a sentence with conditions and even though it appears to be a better deal than imprisonment, if the conditions are compromised, the convict is subject to re-sentencing and could possibly receive the maximum prison sentence. Just like expunction and pardons, probation is a gift, a second chance given to a convict by a court that showed faith in a person’s ability to change.

What Is a Probation Violation?

If probation is part or all of the sentence you have been given after a criminal conviction, you should be aware of the various ways that you could violate your probation – because of the negative consequences. Some of the more common probation violations include:

  • Failure to Appear: A scheduled court appearance is often a condition of probation. The purpose is to provide the court with a progress report on how a defendant is doing in the community. If the defendant doesn’t appear for this court appearance, a judge may consider it a probation violation.
  • Failure to Report: A defendant’s probation may require him or her to report to a probation officer at scheduled times. Failure to report as scheduled may result in a probation violation.
  • Violation of Rules: Probation often includes one or more rules from the judge that prohibit the defendant from visiting certain places or people. If the defendant breaks these rules, it’s a probation violation.
  • Failure to Comply: Mandatory rehabilitation or community service may be part of a defendant’s probation.
  • Failure to Pay: If the defendant doesn’t pay a fine or pay restitution to a victim as ordered, the judge may consider this lack of action a probation violation.
  • Possession of Illegal Substances: Possession of illegal weapons or drugs is a common probation violation.
  • Committing a Crime: Not committing any further crimes is mandatory during probation. A conviction for a new crime will be a probation violation.
  • Being Arrested: Regardless of whether someone on probation is charged with a crime, if he or she is arrested during probation, it will probably be considered a probation violation.

After a Probation Violation

If you have violated your probation, one or more of the following consequences are a possibility:

  • Prison or jail time
  • Extension of your probation
  • Modifications of your probation terms
  • Revocation of your probation
  • Community service
  • Physical labor or community service
  • Mandatory substance abuse treatment
  • Counseling

Get an Attorney’s Advice about Your Probation Violation

Probation violations can happen for a number of reasons. Sometimes those reasons are intentional and sometimes they’re not. Regardless of why the violation happened, the right attorney by your side can help you navigate the legal system and obtain the best result in the case.

If you have violated your probation, or if a law enforcement agency alleges that you violated your probation, the attorney representing you can work to reduce the negative consequences of the violation. Contact an experienced criminal attorney today to discuss your circumstances.

FAQs About Probation Violations

How much jail time do you get for violating probation in Texas?

The amount of jail time received for a probation violation depends on the specifics of the violation and the discretion of the judge. Generally, the court can issue fines, community service, additional counseling or therapy sessions, jail time of up to 10 days, or an extension of the probation period for first-time violations. For subsequent violations, stricter punishments may be imposed, including incarceration in county jail for up to 180 days or longer.

Which type of probation violation is the most common?

According to statistics gathered by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the most common type of probation violation is non-compliance with the terms of probation. This includes failing to appear at scheduled meetings with a probation officer, not completing required classes or treatment programs, missing payments or fines, failing a drug test, or committing a new criminal offense.

Can a probation violation be dismissed in Texas?

Yes, depending on the circumstances and severity of the violation. The court may decide that the offender has satisfied their conditions of probation and dismiss the violation. Additionally, they may choose to reduce the amount of jail time imposed or waive any fines as a form of leniency.

What is the code for probation violation in Texas?

A person convicted of a probation violation in Texas can be charged with Violation of Conditions of Community Supervision under Section 12.45 of the Texas Penal Code.

What is the lowest form of probation?

The lowest form of probation is informal probation or summary probation. This type does not require a court hearing and is often used as an alternative to jail or prison time. It requires the offender to meet certain conditions such as attending counseling sessions or performing community service.

What is the strictest form of probation?

The strictest form of probation is intensive supervision probation (ISP). In this case, offenders are closely monitored and subjected to frequent drug tests, curfews, and home visits by their probation officer. ISP is generally reserved for more serious offenses where there is a greater risk of recidivism.

What state has the highest probation rate?

According to data from 2017, Georgia had the highest per capita rate of people on probation, with over 154 people out of every 100,000 residents on probation. Florida was second with almost 130 people out of every 100,000 residents on probation.

What are the two categories into which conditions of probation are divided?

Conditions of probation are typically divided into two categories – mandatory conditions and discretionary conditions. Mandatory conditions are defined by law and must be imposed upon all offenders, regardless of circumstances. Discretionary conditions are imposed at the court’s discretion and depend on the individual case.

What is considered more severe than probation but less severe than incarceration?

A split sentence, otherwise known as a “shock” sentence, is a judicial sentencing option that is considered more severe than probation but less severe than incarceration. In a split sentence, an offender would serve a short jail sentence followed by a longer term of imprisonment.

What is the main cause of revocation of probation?

The most common cause of revocation of probation is failure to comply with the terms and conditions set by the court. Other causes include failure to appear at scheduled meetings with a probation officer, failure to pay fees or fines imposed by the court, testing positive for drugs or alcohol, or committing another criminal act during one’s probationary period.

In which situation is the offender most likely to receive probation?

Offenders who have committed non-violent crimes such as minor theft or drug possession are most likely to receive probation rather than prison time as their sentence. Generally speaking, those with little or no prior criminal history are more likely to be offered probation.

What is the most common reason for revocation of parole?

The most common reason for revocation of parole is failure to abide by the rules and regulations set by parole officers. Violations could include failing random drug tests, not attending scheduled meetings with parole officers, failing to stay within designated areas, not paying fees associated with parole, or committing another criminal offense while on parole.