Q: How does a probation revocation proceeding start?
A: A probation revocation begins with either a Motion to Revoke Probation, or a Motion to Adjudicate for defendants who have been placed on deferred adjudication. These motions will list the alleged probation violations.
Q: Why is the State trying to revoke my probation?
A: There are many reasons why you could be facing a revocation. The most common reasons for a probation revocation/adjudication are that your probation officer believes you have:
- Committed a new offense while on probation;
- Failed a random drug test;
- Failed to pay to fines or court costs;
- Not reported to the probation office;
- Not completed required drug/DWI classes;
- Not completed community service;
Q: What happens after a Motion to Revoke/Motion to Adjudicate has been filed in my case?
A: A warrant will be issued for your arrest. You will have to turn yourself into to authorities to dispute or resolve the revocation.
Q: Am I entitled to a bond during a revocation proceeding?
A: It depends. If you are on probation (either deferred or regular probation) for a misdemeanor, you are entitled to have a bond set. If you are on felony probation you are only entitled to have a bond set if you are on deferred adjudication. Regular felony probationers may be held with no bond.
Q: Can I dispute the revocation?
A: Yes, you are entitled to a hearing on the revocation. If you are incarcerated, you are entitled to have the hearing within 20 days.
Q: What happens at the hearing?
A: The State has the burden to prove up your probation violations–usually the State will call your probation officer to prove up your violations. The State does not have to prove the violations up by proof beyond a reasonable doubt; the State only has to put on a preponderance of the evidence that you violated your probation. This is a much lower burden for the State to prove its case.
Q: Can I have a jury trial for the revocation hearing?
A: No. Probation revocation hearings are always held in front of a judge and the judge will decide if the State has met its burden of proof regarding your violations. There are no jury trials for probation revocation hearings.
Q: If the State proves its case against me at the revocation hearing, what type of punishment am I looking at?
A: If you are on regular probation then your original plea bargain contains the maximum number of years you can be sentenced to. For example, if you are on probation for a 3rd degree felony your sentence could be a negotiated plea agreement of 5 years in jail, probated for 5 years. Lawyers call this “five for five.” In this case, your maximum jail exposure is capped at 5 years as a result of the original plea agreement. Deferred adjudication probation is different. In the case of deferred adjudication there is no set amount of years as your maximum punishment. Instead of being revoked you are adjudicated (formally convicted of the charge you were placed on deferred adjudication probation for). As a result, you are now at risk of being exposed to the full range of punishment for the offense. For example, if you are on deferred adjudication for a 3rd degree felony you could be facing up to 10 years in jail and up to a $10,000 fine following an adjudication proceeding.