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Can You Violate Probation and Not Go to Jail?

Types of Probation Violations

In Texas, probation violations happen when an individual breaks the rules of probation. Common probation rules include complying with certain conditions like attending counseling, paying restitution, or performing community labor. If you violate the rules of your probation, what can happen is that your probation could be revoked and a judge could make the terms of the probation stricter. Some of the most common probation violations include:

  • Missing appointment with probation officer

If you missed a scheduled appointment with your probation officer, the officer could file a notice of violation with the court. If this happens, the court will set the matter for a hearing to determine if your probation was violated.

  • Missing a court hearing

If you miss a court hearing during probation, the judge might require you to attend further court hearings after a specific period of time in order to review your progress. Failing to attend the court hearing would be a severe violation of probation.

  • Failing to pay fines or restitution

If you are on probation, you might be ordered to pay fines or restitution. Restitution fines are essentially your “debt to society” and this is how you pay back the state for the crime. Failing to pay restitution is considered a probation violation.

  • Failing to complete community service

If community service is ordered as a condition of probation, then as the defendant, you must complete community service in order to successfully complete your probation. Community service is meant to serve as a deterrent to other potential offenders and to provide restitution for the harm the defendant caused. Failure to do this could result in jail time. The primary requirement of a community service sentence is that it must benefit the community.

  • Visiting restricted places or people

Some probations require defendants to stay away from specific people or places linked with criminal activity. It is not uncommon for gang members to be prohibited from communicating with other gang members, for example.

  • Not being employed

Another potential term of a probation is a requirement to keep a job or enroll in school. For these situations, failure to do so would be considered a violation of probation.

  • Committing another crime

If you are on probation and you become charged in connection to a new crime, you will face consequences whether or not you were guilty of this crime. If you were arrested at all, you are likely to be faced with harsher consequences than the original conditions of your probation.

In order for any of the consequences of a probation violation to occur, the prosecutor will need to show that probation was violated. The first step of this process will be that you receive a warning from your probation officer or you will be notified that you must make an appearance in court. At this point, you will attend a probation hearing and a judge will hear your case. In any of the above situations, should the judge find that you violated your probation, one of the following decisions will be determined:

  • Continued without change

If the violation is not serious, and if you do not have a history of violations, the judge might simply issue a warning and allow you to continue your probation without making any changes. In this case, you would continue with your probation and not go to jail.

  • Continued with modifications

If the violation was more serious, the judge might continue with your probation with modifications. For example, the judge could extend your probation and add another condition. In this case, you would continue with your probation and not go to jail.

  • Revoked

More serious or repeated violations might call for more serious action. For example, the judge could revoke your probation. In this case, you might be required to serve your sentence in jail.

If your probation officer believes you have violated your probation, we can provide legal support to create the most favorable outcome for you. Call Peter Barrett at (214) 307-8667 or contact us online.

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