Conditions of Probation in Texas
In a previous post I explained the difference between deferred adjudication probation and “straight probation in Texas.” If you’re not sure about the difference between the two, or whether or not the difference matters, go back and read that post. Not all probation is the same. Normally, you’re placed on probation because of an agreement between you and the State. This is a part of the plea bargain. In exchange for your plea of guilty, your sentence will be probated as part of your plea bargain. As with everything else, Probation comes with terms and condition.
What are the “normal” Conditions of Probation in Texas?
The are the “normal” conditions of Probation in Texas, and then there are special conditions of Probation. The normal conditions of Probation are generally:
- Don’t break the law – State, Federal, Local or Outside of the Country.
- Avoid illegal drugs and alcohol.
- Avoid people who are likely to get you in trouble.
- Report to you Probation Officer, monthly, or as directed.
- Keep a steady job.
- Ask permission from your Probation Officer to move your residence, job, or leave the State.
- Pay your fines/Court costs/supervision fees.
- Allow your Probation Officer to drug test you and/or visit you at home/work randomly.
- Allow your Probation Officer or a Police Officer to search you at random.
- Complete some amount of hours of community service.
What are the “special” Conditions of Probation in Texas?
The special conditions are usually adjusted to suit your specific case. These conditions take into account your criminal charge, criminal history, and any other conditions which come up during your Probation. Some examples of the special conditions are to complete:
- Drug/Alcohol Assessment
- DWI Education Program
- Victim Impact Program
- Ignition Interlock Installed in Car
- Life Skills Class
- Treatment/Counseling as Recommended
- Texas Drug Offender Program
- Registration as a Sex-Offender
Your Relationship With Your Probation Officer
This part of your case can really make or break you. Your Probation Officer may change the requirements on you if you are doing well or may tell you that you need to do more of something. The Probation Officer be more or less strict with you than others. Some of them will let you check in by phone, email, or mail. Ideally, you want to stay on their good side, do what you’re told, and complete your conditions that you agreed to.
For example, if your Probation Officer tells you to complete a certain number of community service hours every month, then make sure to do them. If you need to pay your monthly supervision fees, then pay them. If you need to take a class, sign up for the class and get your certificate. It’s all about following your Probation Officer’s instructions.
What Happens if You Break the Conditions of Probation?
As I said before, this depends on your Probation Officer. Some of them will let certain things slide, and others won’t. If you break the conditions enough or if you break the more important rules, your Probation Officer can as the prosecutor to file, in Texas, what’s called a Motion to Revoke Probation. This is the formal legal document that will go in front of the Judge. You and I would have to show up to Court and explain why you’re not following the conditions you agreed to. This is called a Revocation Hearing. I’ve had a client who was on Probation get sued before. He was worried if it would affect his criminal Probation. However, getting sued in Court on an unrelated case won’t get your Texas Criminal Probation revoked.
I’ll explain more about a Motion to Revoke Probation in a future post. If you’re on Probation or are about to be, just remember to follow the rules, complete your Probation, and things will turn out much better for you.