Probation Violation in Texas
Despite being on probation you’ve been doing well. You’ve avoided alcohol since your DWI, you’ve never been late meeting with your probation officer (PO), and have kept up with your court costs and lawyer fees. Then, a few months into your probation a friend asks you to meet them at a bar.
You know you shouldn’t. Just being IN a bar could get you into trouble, but you have not seen this friend in a long time and you think, “What’s the harm? I’ll order a ginger ale or something and chill for a while. Nothing to it.”
But as you leave the bar with your friend that night, you discover that those two ginger ales you drank might as well have been real ales; your probation has been violated without drinking any alcohol.
What Violates Probation?
There are many things that could be considered violations:
- Failed drug test
- Ingesting alcohol
- Missing meetings with your PO
- Failing to complete community service
- Not paying fines, fees, or court costs
- Arrested and/or convicted of a new criminal charge
- Not staying away from bars, people involved with drugs, or the victim of your criminal case
- Not going to your required treatment or counseling
- You don’t have an ignition interlock device on your car
By now you might be wondering what might happen if you do any of the above. Unfortunately, there is no set answer. What happens when you violate probation depends on if this is your first violation and the nature of the violation.
What Are the Consequences of Violating Probation in Texas?
Depending on your violation there are a few things that could happen:
- You could get a stern reminder that harsher punishments could be imposed
- A judge could extend your probation
- The terms of your probation could be changed to fit the violation
- Your probation could be revoked and you would serve your original jail time
What Should You Do if You've Violated Probation?
If you believe you’ve committed a violation it’s best to tell your PO right away. DON’T WAIT. If they find out from other sources about your violation they, and the judge, will be less willing to work with you.
Here’s a look at a small violation:
Suppose this for a moment: you’re car broke down and you don’t have the money for an Uber or Lyft. You call around for some rides, but everyone is busy. Even though you’re trying to do the right thing and make your standing appointment with your PO, you can’t.
This is the first time you’ve missed an appointment. If you explain what happened and show your PO that you’re going to put money aside for better transportation, not much might happen. In fact, your PO or a judge might simply remind you of the harsher punishments you could face.
However, if this is not your first violation and the violation itself is more than missing an appointment, you could have your probation revoked and face real jail time.
What Is a Probation Revocation Hearing?
You are always entitled to a probation revocation hearing. This is where you and your lawyer request a hearing so your side of the story can be heard.
To get an idea of what that might look like, let’s go back to the situation from the introduction. You met a friend at a bar and drank only soda. Even though you didn’t drink, you know you have to mention this to your PO in case anyone else saw you. They’re not happy and tell a judge.
“If I didn’t drink, why do I need a probation lawyer? Couldn’t I just explain what happened?”
You could, but just like when you first got your DWI, having a lawyer on your side is your best defense. They’ll be able to look at your violation and not only tell you what punishments you might face, but they can also go to court with you and argue your side.
They can explain that:
- You didn’t drink that night
- Don’t plan to drink again
- And that you are taking the appropriate steps to correct your behavior
Plus, having a lawyer increases your chances of NOT going to jail. So if you think you’ve violated probation, play it safe and consult a lawyer today.
Hire the Best Probation Lawyer, David Hunter, Today!
If you want to know more about probation or think you need a probation lawyer, David Hunter can help. David’s extensive experience as a trial lawyer and Texas Judge has given him a unique perspective on the Texas criminal justice system that allows him to provide a top-notch defense to each and every client. He handles DWI cases regularly and knows exactly what to do so you’ll spend less time in court and jail.