If you are on probation, you may consider yourself fortunate. However, while the court did not sentence you to jail, technically, you are still under the eye and hand of the justice system. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest and conviction, a judge may have granted you probation up to three years. In some situations, probation may last longer, but no matter its length, you likely felt relieved to have avoided a jail sentence.
Nevertheless, the judge made it clear to you that your probation came with certain conditions, and those conditions are not optional. Violating your probation may seem trivial, but doing so can make your situation even worse than before.
Violations and consequences
The terms of your probation probably included a list of people you can't see, places you can't go and appointments you must keep. You may have a very good reason for violating one of these rules, but your probation officer has probably heard so many excuses that yours may ring hollow. Some of the actions that your probation officer may consider a violation include:
- Leaving the state without your probation officer's permission
- Failing to report for your meetings with your probation officer
- Failing to appear for court appointments
- Associating with people expressly forbidden by your probationary terms
- Getting arrested
- Possessing or using illicit drugs
Depending on the severity of the violation, your probation officer may issue a warning. However, if the violation is serious or if you have previously broken the rules, the Texas courts may summon you to a hearing to consider revoking your probation. When this happens, you have every reason to be concerned. By the time the hearing is over, you may be facing negative consequences. The penalties for violating probation may include any of the following:
- Extending your probationary period
- Adding stricter terms to your probation, such as house arrest
- Sentencing you to community service
- Revoking your probation and sending you to jail for the remainder of your sentence
The court may order you to pay a fine, and, depending on the circumstances that surround the incident, the judge may add more time to your original jail sentence.
It is likely that you have a valid reason for violating your probation. You have the right to present your side of the situation in court so the judge will have a complete understanding of the mitigating circumstances. You may have only one chance to tell your side of the story in a convincing manner. It may be to your advantage to seek legal assistance, as is your right when facing a hearing for a probation violation.