Just because you received probation doesn’t mean you’re safe from harsher penalties. Many people underestimate the rigors and intensity of probation programs. Lose track of your dates or make just one mistake and you could find yourself facing severe consequences.
Texas courts often have a strict attitude with probation violators. In 2016, there were 22,606 probation revocations in the state just for felony convictions, according to data from the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition. The department also finds that almost one-third of all new individuals admitted into the Texas Department of Criminal Justice system have violated their parole.
If you or a loved one has been accused of violating the terms of probation, contact our experienced McKinney criminal defense attorneys immediately for help. Violating your probation can put your freedom at stake. At Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian we have the resources and experience to craft a defense strategy that will help you stay out of jail. Our dedicated and tenacious team of attorneys will be able to review the circumstances of your case and represent you in a probation violation hearing. You deserve skilled legal representation that understands the Texas legal process, and that’s what the team at Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian provides. Contact our office today at (972) 369-0577 to schedule a free consultation and discuss the details of your case.
What Constitutes a Probation Violation?
Probation is a sanction imposed by the court because an individual has been found guilty of committing a crime. In many instances, it’s a way to keep offenders out of the jail system and let them remain a part of the community while they work toward fulfilling the court’s conditions. The conditions of probation can vary depending on the type of offense committed and the circumstances surrounding the incident.
An individual may avoid jail time by agreeing to the conditions of probation, but individuals who have served time in jail and have been released may also be subject to the parameters of probation. Typically, probation will consist of one or more of the following conditions:
- Community service hours
- Paying restitution to a victim or victims
- Reporting to a probation officer
- Counseling sessions
- Court-mandated courses or classes aimed at educating or correcting behavior
- Restrictions on using drugs and alcohol, as well as mandatory drug and alcohol testing
- Restrictions on the handling, purchasing, or use of weapons
A probation violation is any behavior that breaks the terms of the court-ordered probation stipulations. It doesn’t take a major offense to violate the terms of probation – even missing one scheduled appointment is enough to constitute a probation violation. A law enforcement officer or probation officer may catch an individual violating the terms of probation outright, or a law enforcement officer may suspect that a violation has taken place and take those suspicions to a court.
Penalties for Probation Violations
The penalties for violating the conditions of probation can vary. In many cases, a judge will take into consideration the nature of the violation and the original crime for which the individual was convicted. In cases of misdemeanor crimes, a judge may simply warn an offender not to violate the terms of probation again, but it depends on the judge’s discretion. Some Texas judges take a tough stance on crime and probation violations. Even if the offense is minor, the judge may pursue more stringent punishments.
In the case of felony crimes, violating the terms of probation, no matter how small the infraction, is rarely treated with leniency. Typically, a law enforcement officer would file a motion to adjudicate probation. This can result in an arrest warrant being issued if the individual is not in the custody or presence of law enforcement or the probation officer. The court would then schedule what is known as a revocation hearing.
If an individual has committed a new crime, the revocation hearing is not likely to take place until after the new offense has been addressed. In situations where there was no new crime, but the terms of probation were still violated, the hearing will take place as soon as possible.
Individuals facing a revocation hearing must understand that this process is not the same as a usual court case. When a person has allegedly committed a crime, the prosecution is responsible for displaying proof that the individual is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The same does not apply for a revocation hearing. At this type of hearing, the prosecution simply needs to show the court that it is more likely than not that the defendant broke the terms of their probation. This means the burden of proof is much lower than in a typical court trial.
There are really only two outcomes that can result from a revocation hearing. A judge may rule that the terms of probation were not violated, and the individual may go free. The other option is that a judge finds the individual did indeed break the rules and then will determine the punishment for the violation. Again, the circumstances of the original crime and the nature of the probation violation are major factors in how a judge decides what to do.
A judge may opt to release the individual, but tighten the rules and restrictions governing the terms of probation. The judge can also decide to revoke probation entirely. If a judge determines that it is appropriate to revoke probation, the individual will typically be sent to jail.
Why You Need to Contact an Experienced Attorney
While a revocation hearing is not the exact same thing as a traditional court case, there are similarities. A prosecutor will be present, giving the court evidence of the probation violation and advocating for a particular outcome related to the nature of the violation. Since the burden of proof is much lower than a traditional court case, it can be easier for a prosecutor to assert that a violation took place.
However, the individual accused of the probation violation is allowed to have a defense lawyer advocating on their behalf and disputing the prosecution’s evidence. They may also be allowed to demonstrate that the violation was unintentional or minor enough to warrant not revoking probation. You might have had a family emergency that required you to cross state lines, or missed an important meeting with your parole officer because of an urgent medical issue. However, it’s always easier to convince a judge of your good intentions through a competent lawyer.
It then becomes crucial for an individual accused of violating probation to contact an experienced and aggressive defense attorney who will fight to protect their rights.
The attorneys with Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian have extensive experience advocating for the rights of individuals currently on probation. We can review the circumstances of both the original crime and the probation violation to craft an individualized defense approach for your particular situation. The best possible outcome for your situation may depend on the quality of your defense team.
Most Common Probation Violations Committed
There is a wide range of actions that may put an individual’s probation status at risk. While an offender may think it’s only a minor indiscretion to miss an appointment with their probation officer, or skip a court-mandated class, the courts don’t always see it that way. While it is true that some probation violations are more serious than others, any breaking of the rules is frowned upon and results in serious consequences. With that in mind, these are some of the more common forms of probation violations:
- Being arrested for a new criminal offense
- Failing a court-ordered drug or alcohol test
- Failing to attend a probation appointment
- Not attending a required course or class
- Failing to complete a required course or class
- Leaving the state or the country without permission
- Missing community service hours
- Failing to maintain employment
The terms of each individual’s probation may vary depending on the crime. If you are unsure of the exact terms of your probation, it is essential that you talk to your probation officer or an experienced attorney for help.
Contact an Experienced McKinney Defense Attorney for Help
Courts take probation violations seriously and so should you. If you or a loved one has been accused of violating the terms of their probation, contact the legal team at Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian for help. Don’t wait and let the prosecution build a case against you and revoke your probation status. Get an experienced attorney on your side to build a defense strategy and fight for you. Your future and your freedom may depend on it.
If you need help with a probation violation contact our office at (972) 369-0577 to schedule your free consultation. Turn to the team with experience. We will fight to protect your rights and your freedom. Contact Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian today.