Violation of Probation
Probation, or community supervision, serves as an alternative to the prison system. In probation, a person who has been convicted of a crime, usually a first-time or nonviolent offender, lives and works in his or her community, instead of in prison. It is usually a much preferable consequence than being behind bars, although it typically comes with many restrictions and requirements.
If you are on community supervision, you know how close you can come to winding up behind bars and being completely deprived of your liberty. A reported violation of probation (VOP) can put your freedom at risk.
Austin Probation Violation Lawyer
If you believe your community supervision officer may file a report saying you violated your terms, it’s important to call an Austin probation violation lawyer as soon as possible. You could be at risk of going to jail and serving your sentence behind bars.
Your lawyer can help you have your terms reinstated, or even modified so they better suit your needs. Kevin Bennett represents people facing potential claims of violating the terms of their community supervision.
Call The Law Office of Kevin Bennett today at (512) 476-4626 to set up a consultation to discuss your case. Kevin Bennett represents people in Austin and throughout Travis County.
Probation Violation Information Center
- Terms of Probation in Texas
- Technical Violations vs. Substantive Violations of Probation
- Hearing for Potential Violations of Community Supervision
- Defenses for Violation of Probation
Chapter 42 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure includes potential terms of probation. These terms must be followed to stay in compliance. Terms most people must abide by include:
- Not committing another crime;
- Avoiding “bad habits” like illegal drug use or, in many cases, alcohol;
- Submitting to random alcohol and drug testing;
- Avoiding anyone associated with any type of criminal activity;
- Paying fines, fees, and restitution;
- Paying child or family support;
- Finding suitable employment, and notifying Community Supervision and Corrections of any changes to that employment;
- Not leaving Travis County without properly reporting and obtaining permission;
- Reporting to the community supervision officer at least monthly;
- Allowing the probation officer to visit the home or place of employment; and
- Abiding by any other rules of Community Supervision and Corrections.
The court may also assign any other additional conditions for community supervision, as it seems fit. The terms are intended to be tailored to the specific defendant.
A technical violation means that the person failed to follow a rule or procedure, such as failing to pay a fine. A substantive violation means that the person committed another criminal offense. Either type of offense can result in penalties, including losing probation and being sent to jail.
If your community supervision officer believes someone has violated their terms, the officer may submit an affidavit to the judge. He or she could ask for a warrant for your arrest, request more conditions or ask that your probation be revoked.
Having community supervision revoked is a tough sanction and could change your life in an instant. Some of the common penalties include jail or prison time, additional fines and court fees, more community service hours or drug and alcohol counseling or treatment. Facing revocation can be terrifying, especially if you do not have an attorney that is experienced in these types of proceedings.
In any instance when you may face a sanction for a probation violation, you are entitled to a hearing. There is no jury and no “beyond reasonable doubt” requirement. The judge must only decide if there is a preponderance of evidence for the charge, or that, more likely than not, you violated your terms.
At the hearing, your Austin criminal defense lawyer can represent you. He can tell your side of the story and argue that you should not receive penalties. He can ask for an adjustment of your terms so you are better able to meet them. He can present alternatives to revocation and argue for continuation of community supervision as opposed to jail time.
Common Defenses for Violation of Probation
If you are facings charges for violation of probation, having an experienced criminal defense attorney can help convince the judge to allow you to successfully complete your probation terms despite the allegations against you. It is hard to meet all the various terms and conditions being placed on your life because there at times when situation and/or life happens.
- Failure to pay probation fees – When you are placed on probation, there are fines and additional fees that you will have to pay. Not paying your fees is a violation of probation. Having an experienced and skilled attorney by your side can help in multiple ways. Your criminal defense attorney can demonstrate that you are unable to make payments because it is not affordable.
- Failure to report to your probation officer – Part of being on probation is having a probation officer and having to report to them. Failing to show to an appointment is a violation of probation. If it is your first time missing an appointment or you missed your appoint because of an emergency your criminal defense attorney can help you fight to continue to finish your probation term.
- Failing a random alcohol and drug testing – There are a few defenses for failing a drug test, consult with a skilled attorney. Failing a drug test can lead to your probation being violated. Your attorney can help you by requested a retesting. A possible defense is if any prescription medication or food that you may have consumed that can result in positive test.
Keeping the Terms of Your Travis County Probation
If you think your community supervision officer is planning to send an affidavit to the judge saying you violated probation, it doesn’t mean you must go straight to jail. Kevin Bennett is an Austin probation violation lawyer who helps those accused of violating community supervision terms keep or adjust their terms in Travis County. Call (512) 476-4626 today to set up a free consultation.