Are you facing a probation violation? If you’ve been placed on probation for a misdemeanor or a felony, the probation department has provided you with the terms of probation. These conditions of probation require that you follow certain rules, and refrain from engaging in particular types of conduct. In most cases, you are required to report to a probation officer (usually, once a month, for the term of your probation), pay a fine and court costs, and perform a designated number of community service hours. Frequently, the offense with which you were charged determines some of the conditions by which you are expected to abide. For example, if you are a first-time DWI offender, you will be required to attend a six-week alcohol education course, as well as a “Victim Impact Panel” (V.I.P.), at which time you will hear victims of intoxicated drivers share their experiences with those who’ve been placed on probation for driving while intoxicated. Likewise, if you’ve been placed on probation for theft, you may be required to attend an anti-theft class.
If you successfully complete your probationary term, you are relieved of any further obligation to the court with respect to your case. In many cases, if you were on deferred adjudication (i.e., non-conviction probation), you are eligible to seal any record of your case by means of an order of nondisclosure. However, prior to the time your probation expires, it’s alleged that you violated probation, you could be looking at jail time.
When the state files a motion to revoke probation (or, in cases involving deferred adjudication, a motion to proceed to adjudication of guilt), a warrant is issued for your arrest. In Dallas County, the standard bond amount for misdemeanor cases is $500 (though this amount can vary). The defendant can post bond, after which he is given a court date, at which time a hearing on the motion to revoke can be heard by the judge. For felony cases in which the defendant was convicted, many times the judge will not grant a bond, and the defendant sits in jail, pending the resolution of his case.
At a probation revocation hearing, the judge has great discretion with respect to the punishment he renders in any given case. If you were placed on regular probation, you were also sentenced to, in misdemeanor cases, a term of days in jail or, in felonies, a term of years in state prison. However, the imposition of this jail term was suspended (i.e., probated). If the judge believes, by a preponderance of the evidence, that you violated your probation, he can impose the jail term to which you were originally sentenced, and have you immediately taken into custody and held in the Dallas County Jail, or the state penitentiary (in felony cases), until you have satisfied your sentence. If you were placed on deferred adjudication probation, the judge can sentence you up to the maximum allowable term under the law for that offense. For example, the penalty range on a second degree felony is 2 to 20 years in state prison, and up to a $10,000 fine. If you’re on deferred adjudication probation for a second degree felony, and the judge revokes your probation, he can sentence you to twenty years in prison, and have you taken into custody.
If you’re looking at a probation violation, you need serious legal help. You should call the Dallas criminal defense lawyers at Berlof & Newton, P.C. We can help. Our attorneys have vast experience in probation violation matters, and can help obtain the best possible outcome in your case. Call us today at 214.827.2800. Free consultation. Or contact one of our lawyers directly, right now, by using the “Get Legal Help Now!” form in the left margin of this web page. Se habla español.
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