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What You Need to Know About Probation Revocation Hearings in Texas

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In Texas, individuals charged with a criminal offense may be able to avoid a conviction or serve some of their sentence away from jail by agreeing to follow specific rules during their probation. However, if the defendant on probation breaks any rule, such as traveling outside the state without authorization or getting charged with another criminal offense, their probation may be revoked, and a revocation hearing may be necessary to determine their future. Learn how probation revocation hearings work and how an attorney may be able to help you de-escalate your situation and secure a better outcome for your case.

What Is a Motion to Revoke Probation?

Suppose you are put on probation for a misdemeanor, and one of the terms of your probation requires you to show up to substance abuse recovery meetings and to check in with your probation office on specific dates. However, you ended up skipping several of your meetings and did not show up to talk to your probation officer. You may be in violation of your probation terms. If that’s the case, law enforcement can go back to the court and file a motion to revoke probation.

This is essentially a document that alerts the court that you have violated the terms of your probation. Once the motion is accepted, the judge may provide law enforcement with a warrant for your arrest. This enables law enforcement to take you into custody until a probation revocation hearing is scheduled.

What Is a Revocation Hearing?

A revocation hearing is a meeting held by the judge. There is no jury, and the parties present are the defendant, the defendant’s attorney, the judge, and the prosecuting attorney. During this meeting, the judge explains the probation violations the defendant is being accused of committing. The judge then asks the defendant if the alleged violations are true or not true.

If the defendant agrees that they committed the violations as described, they can respond by pleading True. If the defendant wishes to fight the Motion to Revoke Probations and disagrees with the alleged violations, the defendant can respond by pleading Not True. If the defendant pleads Not True, the case will move on to a contested hearing where the prosecution will need to present evidence showing that the defendant did commit the probation violations as described. The judge will listen to the prosecution’s evidence and decide whether the violations are True or Not True. If the judge decides they are Not True, the motion to revoke is dismissed, and probation may continue. If the judge agrees with the prosecution and decides the accusations are True, the judge then decides what should happen to the defendant.

What Happens After a Probation Revocation Hearing?

If, after a contested hearing, the judge agrees with the state and decides that the defendant has violated their probation as described in the motion to revoke, the judge has several options. Depending on the severity of the crime and the nature of the violation, the judge may decide to revoke the probation, modify it, extend it, or simply continue it.

The most unfavorable outcome is a revocation. If a defendant’s probation is revoked, the defendant is sent back to jail or prison for the remainder of their sentence. If the probation is modified, the judge may allow the defendant to continue on probation but may make changes to probation terms or add more stringent rules. If the probation is extended, the defendant may have more time added to their original probation sentence. Finally, if the probation is continued, nothing is changed, which would be the most favorable outcome.

If I Am Sent Back to Jail, Will the Time I Served on Probation Count?

If your probation is revoked, the time you have already served on probation may not always count toward your sentence. For example, if you have been sentenced to 2 years in jail and served one year on probation before your first violation, the judge may order you to return to jail for the full two years of your sentence rather than just one year.

In some cases where the probation violation was due to a new crime being committed, you may be dealing with the imprisonment penalty for your original offense as well as additional time for any new offenses. It may also be more challenging to be allowed to go on probation again after being charged with a violation.

How Can a Probation Revocation Attorney Help?

If you are facing probation violation charges or have been sent back to jail and are waiting for a revocation hearing, it is critical that you reach out to a probation violation attorney as soon as possible. Having your probation canceled may be a disastrous situation, no matter which kind of probation you have been given. If you have a deferred adjudication probation, you might end up being convicted, sent to jail, and end up with a criminal record. If you have straight probation, you might end up going to jail for the rest of your sentence.

The good news is that the burden of proof to show that you committed a probation violation falls on the prosecution. An attorney can help question the validity of the evidence produced against you and argue that you did not commit the violation as described. Your attorney may also be able to convince the judge that the violation you committed was minor and not enough to revoke your probation. The Seymour Law Firm represents clients dealing with probation matters in New Braunfels, Texas, and surrounding areas. If you have been accused of violating your probation or need help with other criminal defense matters, contact our office at 830-282-8751 to learn your options.

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