If you are convicted of a felony, your sentence will likely include a period of supervised release, better known as probation. During probation, you will be under the supervision of a probation officer, and you will be prohibited from doing things like committing crimes, using alcohol or drugs, and spending time with known criminals. You will also be required to maintain your current employment, provide for your children, pay any outstanding court costs and fines, and submit to random drug testing. The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure lists 24 specific do’s and don’ts for individuals on probation.
Violating the terms of your probation is a crime and, if you are caught, the consequences can be severe. As such, when placed on probation, it is important to make sure that you understand all of the things you are both required to do and prohibited from doing until your probation is over.
What Happens When You are Caught Violating Probation?
If you are caught violating the terms of your probation, you may find yourself facing multiple charges. For example, say you are on probation for a drug possession charge, and then you get arrested for selling marijuana. You are likely going to face charges for violating probation, additional charges of drug trafficking, and possession with intent to distribute.
In order to find you guilty of a probation violation, the government does not need to show that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the crimes for which you were arrested. All the prosecutor needs to do is make a preponderance showing. Basically, this means that the evidence presented at the hearing must show that it is more likely than not that you are guilty of the activity alleged.
This is a low standard of proof, and many times all that is required is the testimony of a single agent or officer to recount limited details from the investigation and arrest. It is also important to note that the probation violation hearing is held in front of a judge. There is no right to a jury in a probation violation hearing.
Once you are found guilty of violating the terms of your probation, judges in have significant leeway in deciding the punishment for your violation. The judge may go easy on you and simply extend the term of your probation. However, if you have a significant amount of time remaining on your probation, the judge may order that you serve the rest of the term of your probation in jail.
Remember, these are just the consequences of violating your probation. If your probation violation involved committing a crime, you are facing a whole new criminal trial (this time, as a repeat offender) as well.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney at The Criminal Defense Firm
If you have been accused of violating the terms of your probation, you need experienced legal representation. The attorneys at The Criminal Defense Firm have decades of experience on both sides of the courtroom and will fight vigorously to protect your freedom and help you avoid unjust punishment. To speak with a criminal defense lawyer about your situation, call 866-603-4540 or request a free case evaluation today.
Brian Kuester offers his extensive experience to counsel companies and individuals under civil or criminal government investigation. When resolution requires litigation, clients choose Mr. Kuester’s proven court and litigation experience.