Felony Probation Violations in Texas

First, this topic is going to be broken into two parts. This part is going to deal with felony probation violations in Texas. The next part is going to deal with misdemeanor probation violation in Texas. Felonies are the more serious offenses in Texas. These range from 6 months in State Jail up to life in prison.

For that reason, I’m sure you have some questions already. For that reason, you’re not sure what type of probation you or a loved one are on, you need to check with your Probation Officer (PO) or your paperwork that put you on probation.

Getting Started

First of all, in a past post I wrote about The Difference Between Deferred Adjudication Probation and “Straight” Probation – start there and read that first. That will explain the differences between the two types of probation. Next for a bird’s eye view of the process, look at the page – Probation Revocation in Texas,

Getting Worried… What happens next?

Next, and probably the biggest stress on your mind is – What Happens If you Violate Probation?

In short, whether you are on felony or misdemeanor probation in Texas, you are entitled to a Probation Revocation Hearing. This is where you will get to explain your side of the story. There are a laundry list of reasons why probation revocations are filed. Some of the most common reasons I see are:

  1. Failed drug test.
  2. Not checking in/coming to appointments to see PO.
  3. Not doing community service/paying fines, fees or court costs.
  4. Arrested and/or convicted of a new criminal charge.
  5. Not staying away from bars, people involved with drugs, or the victim of your criminal case.
  6. Not going to treatment/counseling as required.
Felony Probation Violation in Texas

Deferred Adjudication Probation Violation

Moreover, much like I’ve linked to above, Felony Probation Violations in Texas are nothing to joke about. If you’re on a Deferred Adjudication for a Third Degree Felony (2 – 10 years in prison), and a Motion to Proceed with Adjudication or Revoke is filed against you, you’re looking at the full range of punishment?

What does that mean? It means that at your hearing the Judge can sentence you to up to 10 years in prison!!! I think of deferred adjudication like a second chance to prove yourself. It’s a carrot on a stick to keep a conviction off of your record. Clearly, if you are revoked, the consequences can be very, very harsh.

“Straight” Probation Violation

Furthermore, assuming that you read some of the links above, a Straight Probation in Texas is less risky from your standpoint. Why?

In short, it’s less risky because the potential prison time is already capped from the very beginning. A Straight Probation is a already a conviction on your record. Second, using the example above, you may be on a probation for 5/5. If you’re on probation 5/5 that means that your five year prison sentence is capped at 5 years if revoked and sent to TDC. The maximum amount of time a Judge can send you to prison then is 5 years instead of the full range of punishment (10 years).

Staying on Probation

First, the best possible outcome is usually that the Judge will continue you on your probation. If you’ve had many violations already, this should be your final wake up call. Get away from the drugs, alcohol, and other things that are bringing your life down.

Next, if you need help, ask for it. It is much better that you communicate with your PO than avoid them. As I’ve said before, your relationship with your PO can make or break whether or not you get revoked.

Probation is the eyes and ears of the Court!

In conclusion, staying on probation will happen so long as you follow your Conditions of Probation. Everyone slips up now and then. Bringing your slip ups to the attention of your PO is generally better than hiding them. If there is a weakness in your chain then you need to focus on that weakness to move forward. The reason why is that they will usually find out eventually. Often they’d rather hear the news from you than find out on their own and then it seems like you were hiding it all along.