When you heard the court’s verdict convicting you of a crime, you may have wondered what the rest of your life would look like. Would you be spending months, years or decades behind bars? The judge’s order of probation was likely a welcome relief. On the other hand, the prosecutor may have offered a deal of probation in exchange for your completion of certain requirements.
Regardless of how you arrived at a sentence of probation, you received the opportunity to serve your sentence in your own home instead of in a jail cell. However, this does not release you from your legal obligations. Probation has its own limitations and restrictions, and violating them can mean serious trouble for you.
Common probationary terms
The terms of your probation likely included many of the common restrictions courts hand down to others in your situation, including:
- You may not leave the state of Texas during your probationary period unless your probation officer gives you permission.
- You must report regularly to your probation officer and attend any scheduled court appearances.
- You must avoid certain people and places, especially those related to the offense of which the court convicted you.
- You must not use, sell, possess or distribute illegal drugs.
- You must avoid any encounters with law enforcement, even for a traffic citation.
Your terms may vary, and you would be wise to read and understand them. If you violate your orders, your probation officer may let you off with a warning, but in many cases, someone who breaks the rules will face a hearing. The judge will listen to the details of the alleged violation and determine if you should receive further consequences. You may defend yourself with testimony, witnesses and the representation of a skilled Texas attorney.
If the judge agrees that a violation occurred, you will face several alternatives. The judge may revoke your probation altogether and send you to jail to serve the rest of your original sentence with additional time for the violation. If the offense is less severe, the judge may extend your probationary period, assign you to community service or fine you.
Your defense and the extenuating circumstances will play a part in this decision. This is why it is wise to have a skilled attorney to assist you from the first moment you learn of an accusation that you violated your probation.