Everyone makes mistakes. When those mistakes lead you to the wrong side of the law, you may face criminal charges and, possibly, conviction. However, the criminal system tends to work best when it focuses on rehabilitation. The goal is to keep our society safe, and many convicts can continue to live and work safely outside of prison.
In many cases, community supervision is a better option than prison. You might be more familiar with the term “probation,” but community supervision is the term that appears in Texas law. Essentially, it serves as one way to keep convicts out of an over-crowded prison system. But it’s not the same as walking “free.” There are rules to follow. And there’s the possibility that authorities could revoke your probation and send you to prison, anyway.
Revocation Is Not Automatic
If you receive probation, it will likely come with a string of conditions. You need to meet all these conditions faithfully. If you don’t, you kick off a string of events that could potentially lead you to prison or jail:
- Your probation officer and department will report your failures to a prosecutor
- The prosecutor will decide whether to file a motion to revoke your probation
- Alternatively, the prosecutor can file a motion to show cause, which basically gives you a chance to argue why the prosecutor shouldn’t file a motion to revoke your probation
- Either motion will lead you to a hearing that is something like a trial, but with its own set of rules
- If you don’t successfully argue your case at this hearing, you can go to prison or jail
It’s worth noting that the stakes are higher for people on deferred adjudication. As one former prosecutor wrote to the Texas District & County Attorneys Association, people serving community supervision on deferred adjudication have not yet been convicted. This means if they get their probation revoked, they will still face formal conviction and sentencing. The full range of sentencing options will be available.
A Chance To Act
Because the authorities can’t just revoke your probation automatically, you have several chances to act. In most cases, you want to be proactive. If you had a legitimate reason for failing to meet an appointment or make a payment, you and your attorney may want to share that information. There are other cases, although rarer, in which officials might not try to contact you.
Probation officers and prosecutors take probation seriously, but they understand everyone is human. The prosecutor does not have to turn every failure directly into a motion to revoke. If you’ve failed to meet any of the conditions of your probation, you can talk with an experienced defense attorney to learn your options. The right option can help limit the damage.
Juan Pablo Garcia is the attorney responsible for this ad. Primary Practice Location: Uvalde, Texas.