Probation, also known as community supervision, is a tool used by the Texas criminal justice system as an alternative to jail time. Probation terms can last for up to five years, depending on the charges involved. Typically, if you’re a first-time offender or you’ve been convicted of a minor offense, you may be sentenced to probation. The court will set specific terms of your release, which you must agree to before your probationary period can begin. Generally, you must agree to:
- Not commit any other crimes during your court-supervised period
- Avoid the use of illegal drugs and/or alcohol
- Avoid people or places that may induce you to engage in criminal activity
- Meet with your assigned probation officer at least once monthly during the supervision period
- Agree to allow your probation officer to visit you at home, work or other locations
- Following all local, state and federal laws
- Seek and maintain gainful employment
- Maintain residence within your current county
- Keep up with any child support or alimony payments you’re required to make
- Submit to random drug testing if required
- Pay any fines, fees or restitution as ordered by the Department of Corrections
If you fail to satisfy any of these conditions, the court may order you to serve the maximum sentence for the original crime you were charged with. You may also face additional penalties for the actual probation violation and any charges stemming from new crimes committed while you were on probation. You may also have to pay court fees, do community service or submit to mandatory counseling.
It’s important to note that sex offenders and those convicted of drug offenses may face more strict terms of supervision than individuals convicted of other types of crimes.
If you violate the terms of your probation, you need to speak with an experienced Fort Bend County criminal defense attorney to protect your rights. Your attorney can thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding your probation violation and act on your behalf to achieve the best resolution of your case.