Any criminal charge can potentially lead to various penalties. The Texas Penal Code assigns punishments for criminal offenses based on the severity of the offense, the number of offenses involved in the case, and the defendant’s prior criminal history. Past convictions can weigh heavily in sentencing in subsequent cases. A first-time offender is more likely to secure a lighter sentence than a defendant with a long record of past convictions, even if those past charges do not relate directly to the current case.
Probation is commonly used as an element of sentencing in criminal cases, usually at the discretion of the judge handling a case. If a judge believes that a first-time offender does not need to go to jail, or if the Texas Penal Code does not include incarceration as a penalty for their offense, probation is likely. Therefore, it’s vital for everyone sentenced to probation to understand their rights and responsibilities after sentencing.
Sometimes clients choose to accept entry into a probation program, whether straight probation or deferred adjudication, to avoid jail sentences and keep charges off their records. However, once on probation, if you violate the terms and conditions of the probation, the judge can potentially revoke the probation and sentence you to confinement in jail. Typical probation violations include testing positive for drugs or alcohol, picking up a new charge, skipping meetings with the probation officer, or not taking ordered classes.
Attorney Joseph Ruiz is an experienced criminal defense attorney serving clients in the Houston, TX, area. The team at the Law Office of Joseph Ruiz, PLLC, has years of experience handling a wide range of criminal cases, including those pertaining to probation violations. Anyone accused of violating their probation must have defense counsel they can trust to approach the subsequent court proceedings with confidence.
If you violate your probation, you could face jail time and other penalties. A Houston probation violation lawyer is the ideal asset in this situation. Your defense attorney can potentially help you explain your side of the situation if you violated the terms of your probation due to forces beyond your control. If your case proceeds to prosecution, you will need a defense attorney on your side to mitigate your penalty as much as possible and to ensure the final sentence fits the offense in question.
Some defendants charged with criminal offenses are sentenced to probation directly, while others are allowed to transition from incarceration to probation after meeting certain conditions. Once probation is granted in Houston, the probation order will include very specific terms and conditions the defendant must follow to complete probation. The exact terms of probation vary from case to case:
Sometimes, probation violations can occur due to honest mistakes and unforeseen complications. This is part of the reason that maintaining contact with a probation officer is so crucial. If you have trouble meeting the terms of your probation or unintentionally violate your probation, you should notify your probation officer immediately and explain the situation. When a probation officer discovers that an assigned defendant intentionally violated their probation or committed a violation and neglected to report it, the probation officer must notify the court.
If the prosecution in a criminal case learns that a defendant previously assigned to probation has violated their probation, they may file a Motion to Revoke Probation. If granted, the defendant will need to complete the remainder of their original sentence and lose the benefits of probation. Often, this means going back to jail or prison, potentially for longer than the original sentence required, as a penalty for violating probation.
This term is often used interchangeably with a Motion to Revoke Probation. For example, a Motion to Adjudicate is filed when a prosecutor discovers a defendant has violated the terms of their probation order. The prosecution effectively requests to adjudicate the alleged violation for the court to determine if they did indeed violate probation. When a Motion to Adjudicate leads to the discovery that the defendant intentionally violated probation, the defendant is then sentenced for the original offense.
If you are faced with a Motion to Revoke Probation or a Motion to Adjudicate in response to your violation or alleged violation of probation, it’s essential to have defense representation you can trust to help you navigate the proceedings to follow. A Houston probation violation lawyer can assess your case to determine your best strategies. For example, you may need to prove that you did not violate your probation or that the violation was unintentional and happened due to forces beyond your control.
The judge overseeing a probation violation hearing will also carefully evaluate the severity of the alleged violation. For example, if a defendant missed a required appointment with their probation officer due to an emergency, this would likely require little more than explaining the details of the situation and would potentially result in a warning from the judge. A more severe violation, such as knowingly committing another crime while on probation, would lead to more severe penalties. Some probation violations will lead to an extension of the original probation period, stricter probation terms, or incarceration. If a defendant violated their probation by committing another crime, they would face prosecution for the new offense and harsh penalties for a substantial probation violation.
Every probation violation case is unique, and your Houston probation violation attorney can help you make a compelling case that proves you did not intend to violate your probation. Alternatively, your defense attorney may help you avoid the most severe penalties you face after a violation. The Law Office of Joseph Ruiz, PLLC, can provide the guidance and support you need in this situation. We have a track record of keeping clients out of jail when faced with probation violations. To maximize your chances of avoiding jail time or being adjudicated guilty, call us today for a free consultation.