Probation —

Probation – not everyone goes to jail. If the record is clean or even “semi – clean,” a defendant will almost always qualify for probation.  Not always but almost. Probation is not necessarily the gift a lot of people make it out to me.  It can be pretty onerous – especially in sex cases. Typically the “conditions” of probation will follow somewhere along these lines:  (1) commit no offenses against the State of Texas (most prosecutors will not include traffic tickets in this); (2) do not comport with persons who are also on probation or bad people in general; (3) no consumption of alcohol or narcotics (you will be tested); (3) perform community service (they have a list of approved service providers); (5) take whatever classes they have ordered you to take (alcohol, anger management, etc.) (5) pay all fines ( you can get a payment plan); (6) pay all court costs (usually about $300 – $500); (7) pay all supervisory fees (this is the $40.00 per month cost to visit with your probation officer); (8) meet with your probation officer regularly as scheduled (usually once a month, sometimes weekly, sometimes never); (9) pay $50.00 to crime stoppers.

How do you get probation?  Usually a “deal” is made with the prosecutor. It will look something like 6/24.  This will mean 6 months of jail probated over 24 months. Means you are going to be on probation. To do this, you will have to plead guilty to the charge (this is usually a lessor charge than the one you originally got. For example, in a felony family violence case they may reduce the felony to a Class A misdemeanor.  In one of my cases, the felony was reduced to a Class A, one year probation and $100.00 fine.  You will waive your right to cross examination of the complaining witness and you waive your right to a jury trial. You see, when you plea it out you waive all your rights and go straight to guilt. But having said that, defendants agree to probation because they are getting a deal they cannot pass up and it brings the case to an end. They may very well get a better deal than they would ordinarily otherwise get. For example, in a DWI if the prosecutor offers Obstruction of a Highway as the plea – you really cannot pass this up. The deal is too good to pass. It takes all the risk out of the case and avoids the defendant having to pay the trial fee to the defense attorney.

In some cases the Court has no discretion but to order probation. Please click here to find out more about this: Mandatory Probation

Click here to learn more about Early Release from Probation.

Violation of Probation





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