Probation is a form of community supervision that allows a person who has been convicted of a crime to serve their sentence in the community instead of in jail or prison. In Texas, probation is an important part of the criminal justice system, and it's essential to understand the basics of probation if you or a loved one is facing criminal charges.
As a criminal defense attorney with over 12 years of experience, I'm here to explain what probation is, its benefits, conditions, and potential consequences.
What is Probation?
Probation is a legal status that allows a person to serve their sentence outside of jail or prison. Instead, they will be supervised by a probation officer and required to comply with specific conditions set by the court. In Texas, there are two types of probation: community supervision and deferred adjudication.
Community supervision is the most common type of probation in Texas. It is a court-ordered period of supervision with specific terms and conditions set by the court This type of probation results in a criminal conviction but allows the accused to avoid jail time. Deferred adjudication is another type of probation that allows a defendant to avoid a conviction if they successfully complete the probation period.
Not everyone is eligible for probation or deferred adjudication, and it ultimately depends on the specific details of the case. Generally, those with a previous felony or those convicted of certain offenses may not be eligible for probation.
Benefits of Probation
Probation comes with many benefits, including:
Avoiding jail time: Probation allows a person to serve their sentence in the community, avoiding the confinement of jail or prison.
Keeping employment: Probation allows a person to maintain their employment and support their family while serving their sentence.
Rehabilitation: Probation often includes counseling and other programs that can help a person address underlying issues that led to their criminal behavior.
Conditions of Probation
Probation comes with specific conditions that must be met to successfully complete the probation period. General conditions of probation include things like checking in with a probation officer, avoiding criminal activity, and paying any fines or restitution ordered by the court.
Specific conditions of probation can vary depending on the offense and the person's individual circumstances. For example, a person convicted of a drug-related offense may be required to attend drug counseling or submit to drug testing.
Compliance with these conditions is critical. Failure to comply with probation terms and conditions can result in a probation violation.
Violation of Probation
If a person violates their probation terms and conditions, they can face serious consequences, including revocation of probation and incarceration. The consequences of a probation violation depend on the specific terms and conditions of the probation. If a person is on regular probation, the maximum prison sentence is 10 years on a felony charge and one year on a misdemeanor. This number could be lower depending on what jail or prison sentence was assessed when you were put on probation.
Deferred adjudication can come with even more severe punishment options for a probation violation. If you violated a deferred, not only are you facing a criminal conviction you would have been able to avoid, but you are open to the full range of punishment. That means if you were on deferred for a first degree felony, you could be facing up to life in prison.
If you are facing a probation violation, it's essential to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you understand your options and work to defend you in court.
Criminal Defense Attorney Brad Thornton in Pleasanton, Texas
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, it's important to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you navigate the probation process. At Thornton Criminal Defense, PLLC, we have the experience and knowledge necessary to handle all types of probation cases. Call us today at 210-439-5627 to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help you with your case.