Probation, formally known as community supervision, is an alternative to traditional jail and prison sentence punishments that is usually available to people who have no previous criminal convictions or are convicted of a non-violent criminal offense. While probation appeals to many criminal offenders due to the fact that they will not be required to serve any time in jail or prison, probation requires the criminal offender to abide by many stringent terms and conditions. If the terms and conditions of probation are violated, the State will seek to have the person’s probation revocated which often leads to the person serving a significant amount of time in jail or prison.
Definition of Probation in Collin County, Texas
In Texas, probation refers to the placement of a criminal defendant by a court under ongoing programs and sanctions, with conditions imposed by the court for a specified period of time during which criminal proceedings are deferred without an adjudication of guilt or a sentence of imprisonment and/or fine is probated and the imposition of sentence is suspended in whole or in part.
The maximum term of probation that a person charged with a misdemeanor may receive is 2 years. The minimum term of probation that a person charged with a felony may receive is equal to the minimum term of imprisonment he or she faces if convicted for the felony offense. The maximum term of probation a felony offender may face generally ranges anywhere from 5 to 10 years depending on the particular criminal offense charged.
Typical Terms and Conditions of Probation in Collin County, Texas
The judge of the court presiding over the criminal case determines the terms and conditions of probation and may, at any time during the probationary period, alter or modify the conditions. In addition, the judge may impose any reasonable condition that is designed to protect or restore the community, protect or restore the victim, or punish, rehabilitate, or reform the criminal defendant. A person placed on probation must agree to abide by the specific terms and conditions set forth by the court. Some examples of common terms and conditions of probation require that the criminal defendant must:
- not commit any criminal offense
- not use any alcohol or controlled substances
- check in with a probation officer every month
- submit to random drug tests
- obtain or maintain employment
- obtain permission before leaving the county of supervision
Consequences of a Probation Violation in Collin County, Texas
If you have been placed on probation and your probation officer suspects you have violated the terms and conditions of your probation, the probation officer may give you a warning, request a warrant for your arrest, request stricter terms and conditions, and/or request that your probation be revoked. Upon recommendation by the probation officer, the State will file a motion to revoke your probation and a hearing will be scheduled.
At the probation revocation hearing, the State will present evidence that you violated one or more terms and condition of your probation. Unfortunately, the burden of proof at these types of hearings is exceptionally low. The State must only show that it is more likely than not a violation occurred. Furthermore, you are not entitled to have a jury decide the issue. The same judge who granted you probation will conduct the hearing and decide whether or not to revoke your probation. This means that, if the judge determines you likely violated the terms and conditions of your probation, he or she can sentence you up to the maximum jail or prison time that you were originally facing.
Defending Against Probation Violations in Collin County, Texas
While having a motion to revoke your probation filed by the State can no doubt be stressful and seem like an uphill battle, hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you and argue on your behalf at the revocation hearing can even the playing field. Mark O’Bryan will aggressively defend you and seek to have the judge reinstate your probation as is without any additional penalties or punishments.