Recommended Houston Attorney » Violated Your Probation? What You Must Know.

28 Jul

Houston Lawyer

Rather than sentencing a defendant to a jail term, a judge may possibly choose to sentence a defendant to probation. Probation releases a defendant back into the community, but the defendant does not have exactly the same level of liberty as a normal citizen. Probation comes with conditions that restrict a probationer’s behavior, and if the probationer violates one of those conditions, the court may possibly revoke or modify the probation.

Courts usually grant probation for first-time or low-risk offenders. Statutes determine when probation is possible, but it is up to the sentencing judge to figure out whether or not to actually allow probation.

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Even though sentencing judges have this latitude, they will have to still remain within the statutory limits when allowing probation. For example, a judge cannot impose probation for a period longer than the maximum sentence prescribed by statute.

Probation has 3 primary goals:

  • To rehabilitate the defendant
  • To protect society from further criminal conduct by the defendant
  • To protect the legal rights of the victims

Once a judge has granted probation, the matter moves into the jurisdiction of probation officers, who monitor the probationer’s compliance with the terms of the probation.

Probation Conditions

Conditions are an inherent part of probation. Judges set conditions in order to meet the goals for probation stated above. A probationer must comply with these conditions or else the court could possibly impose a prison sentence or add more restrictive conditions to their probation.

Courts typically have a good deal of discretion when setting probation conditions, nevertheless that doesn’t mean that judges can set whatever terms they desire. Probation conditions must be reasonable. This indicates that the conditions can’t be vindictive, vague, overbroad or arbitrary. Furthermore, the conditions need to be related to the protection of the public. Also, any time a judge wishes to impose special conditions, those conditions need to relate to the nature of the criminal offense that the probationer committed.

Judges set the conditions, nevertheless probation officers enforce them. In cases where a probation officer finds probable cause to believe that the probationer has violated the terms of the probation, the judge could possibly either change the terms of the probation or revoke the probation and impose a jail sentence.

Probation Revocation

Because the probationer’s freedom is at stake, however, the probationer should receive some procedural due process before a court revokes their probation. While the ruling to revoke probation, just like the decision to grant probation, is at the court’s discretion, the court needs to go through a number of procedural requirements before revoking probation. The probationer fighting revocation doesn’t have as many rights during revocation proceedings as they do in the course of the original criminal trial, however.

In order to revoke probation, a court needs to provide the probationer with notice of the proposed revocation and conduct a hearing on the matter. The probationer has a right to testify at the hearing, present supporting witnesses, and confront the witnesses against them. The probationer also has a right to a neutral hearing body, and must receive a written statement containing the reasons for revoking probation.

If there is sufficient evidence, a violation of even a single condition may result in revocation of probation. The violated condition has to be valid, however. In cases where a condition is later found to be unreasonable then violation of that condition will not constitute grounds for revocation.

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If you are accused of violating the terms of your parole or probation or have questions regarding a potential probation offense, please call the Best Houston Attorney the instant for a no charge initial consultation.

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