In the state of Texas, jail sentences are not always viewed as the best way to punish someone for committing a crime. In many such cases, Texas law allows offenders to receive an alternative to incarceration called community supervision, formerly referred to as probation. (The language in Texas law changed the terminology, but probation is still commonly used.)
If you have been sentenced by a Texas court to community supervision instead of having to serve time in jail, you are required to adhere to a wide variety of restrictions. First and foremost, you are required to report to an assigned probation officer on a regular schedule and pay all associated fees for monitoring. Additionally, you might have to obtain permission before traveling outside of a specifically designated area, significantly curtailing your freedom of movement. (There are other restrictions that the court and your probation officer can discuss and clarify for you).
If you do not comply with the restrictions associated with your community supervision/probation term, you will be in violation of your sentencing. If you violate your probation, you put your freedom in jeopardy. How? If your probation officer believes that you have violated the terms of your probation, he or she can file a motion to revoke your probation or a motion to adjudicate (depending on the nature of your specific community supervision term). If such a motion is filed, a warrant will be issued for your arrest and you will go to jail; you will also be required to attend a hearing on the motion in the future. The state attorney must prove in court that you have committed a probation violation (such as not passing a mandated drug test, being arrested and charged with a new crime while on probation, etc.); the hearing is the only time you will have a chance to present evidence to the contrary. This hearing has a much lower burden of proof than a criminal trial, called ‘preponderance of the evidence,’ or said differently, more likely than not or 51%.
If you feel that you are not in violation of the terms of your community supervision/probation sentence and choose to dispute that claim at your hearing, you should know that such probation violation claims are difficult charges to challenge. That said, you are entitled to have an attorney present at your hearing to help you fight back. Hiring an attorney with experience handling probation violation cases is key if you intend to contest the charges; he will be able to help you reach the best outcome possible in your case.
Brian Erskine of Erskine Law is a caring and competent criminal defense attorney based in Austin, Texas who has experience handling community supervision cases, including probation violations. If you or a loved one are in need of legal assistance for your probation violation case in Austin or the surrounding area, you can be confident in Brian Erskine’s skill and insight, and his ability to navigate the legal system on your behalf. Contact the shrewd and knowledgeable counsel at Erskine Law any time for more information about how to handle your specific case and achieve the best possible outcome.