If you were convicted of a crime in Texas or pled guilty to charges against you, it’s possible that a judge will grant you “community supervision.” This term is synonymous with the legal status commonly known as being on probation. The arrangement typically involves a series of programs and requirements that you must follow for a designated period of time, depending on the circumstances of your case. If you violate the terms of your probation, you may face a motion to revoke, which has serious implications for your life and freedoms. While you should always rely upon a Collin County criminal defense lawyer to assist with the specifics, some general information may be useful.
Overview of Probation
The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure provides for community supervision in criminal cases, which may be imposed by the court for a specified period of time. An order of probation defers criminal proceedings or suspends imposition of a sentence, so long as you comply with the specified conditions.
If you breach the terms of your probation, your conduct may trigger the motion to revoke probation process. When the officer in charge of your case determines that you’ve violated the terms of your probation, he or she may attempt to resolve the matter without court involvement.
However, it’s likely that the officer will take the matter directly to the District Attorney (DA), which triggers the motion to revoke probation process. The DA files the motion with the court where the underlying crime occurred, asking for a hearing date to be set to determine whether you’ve violated the terms of your probation. The request will also include a warrant for your arrest.
Motion to Revoke Probation Hearing
The proceedings for a probation violation are similar to a trial. You will hear the DA’s evidence regarding the alleged violation and you do have the opportunity to defend yourself against the charges. You also have the right to an attorney.
Still, there are key differences in a motion to revoke probation hearing:
- The matter will not address the issues involved with the underlying crime. You won’t be allowed to present new evidence, re-argue the facts, or request a different sentence.
- Unlike a criminal trial, the standard of proof is preponderance of the evidence. In other words, the DA will have to prove that it’s more likely than not that your conduct is a violation of probation.
- You do not have the right to a jury to decide on the motion to revoke probation.
If the DA is successful in proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that you violated the terms of your community supervision, the judge has discretion to determine the outcome. It’s possible that he or she will not revoke your probation. You may be allowed to continue on probation, it may be extended, or there may be additional conditions.
On the other hand, the judge may grant the DA’s motion and revoke your probation. You will face the maximum sentence that was suspended when you were originally convicted or pled guilty in the underlying crime.
How to Fight a Motion to Revoke
You do have options when faced with a motion to revoke probation, but the first step is to retain a criminal defense lawyer to represent your interests. An attorney with extensive experience in probation violation cases can assist you with:
- Presenting Defenses: Even with a lower standard of proof in motion to revoke proceedings, you still have the opportunity to present defenses. There may be flaws in the DA’s case, or there may be holes in the story of a witness testifying against you. A lawyer will attack these weaknesses to fight the allegations.
- Potential for Agreement: In some cases, you may be able to reach an agreement with the DA. An attorney can negotiate on your behalf to extend the probation term, order a fine, require completion of counseling or other programs, or other possible arrangements. If successful, you can remain out of prison and avoid the harsh penalties of a probation revocation.
Trust an Experienced McKinney Criminal Defense Attorney
As you can see, Texas law takes probation violations very seriously. If you breach the terms of your community supervision, you face serious consequences, including incarceration. When the stakes are high, you need a skilled criminal defense lawyer to represent your interests in a motion to revoke probation proceeding. The probation violation attorneys at Rosenthal & Wadas, PLLC have the in-depth knowledge of Texas criminal laws to fight for your rights and obtain a positive outcome. Please contact our office with questions or to set up a case evaluation.