If you have been convicted of a crime, you may have to serve time in prison and pay a series of fines. But, after you have served your prison sentence, you will most likely have to go through a probation program before it’s considered “fully served.” To go through this process, you will have to follow a strict set of rules and meet with your probation on a regular basis. There are some things you can do to make this process easier, so you can get off of parole without being sent to prison for a probation violation.
When you’re on probation, you have been given a chance to stay in society instead of being incarcerated, but you will be under the supervision of the court. During this period, you will have to follow the terms and conditions that have been set by your probation officer, which will depend on the type of crime you committed and the county in which you were convicted. If you fail to meet these conditions, you run the risk of being incarcerated (most likely for a long period of time).
How You Can Stay in Compliance with the Terms of Your Probation in Texas
Here are some things you can do to make sure you stay in compliance with the terms of your Texas probation:
- Make sure you understand it completely — If you have been flagged for a probation violation and you have to talk to a probation officer or judge, claiming that you didn’t realize you were doing so isn’t going to get you off the hook. It’s your responsibility to understand and follow all the terms that have been set by the court, so make sure you ask your probation officer to clarify anything you don’t understand.
- Develop a good relationship with your probation officer — Your probation officer has a lot of power. And if you make a mistake or violate the terms of your probation in Texas, he or she can recommend that it be revoked. Make sure you get on the good side of your probation officer by always being on time (or even early) for your scheduled meetings and by being respectful at all times.
- Show up for all your appointments — Know when and where you need to be for your appointments, and make sure you’re there every time. It takes precedence over everything else in your life. But if something does come up, notify your probation officer as soon as possible. It doesn’t mean you’re in the clear for missing a meeting, but letting people know why after the fact can get you in trouble.
- Keep records — If part of your probation includes paying child support or going to a certain number of alcohol education classes, make sure you keep accurate records of any payments you made or classes you attended because it will go much further than your word when it comes to proving your case.
- Stay out of trouble — If you aren’t allowed to drink alcohol, don’t go to a bar or hang out at a party that serves it. Don’t put yourself in a position where you can unintentionally break the terms of your Texas probation with the hope that you can get away with it. The short-term benefits of breaking the rules aren’t worth the long-term consequences (which can lead to more jail time). So, make sure you stay out of trouble while you’re on probation.
- Pay your fees — Most people who are put on probation in Texas are required to pay certain fees, fines, and other expenses. This might include court costs, probation fees, costs related to drug testing, and restitution payments to the victim. Make sure you pay them in full and on time. But if you’re not able to pay, at least try to pay a little toward them as often as you can. Late or unpaid fines can lead to a revocation, which can get you arrested and sent to jail.
- Get a job — The conditions of your probation will most likely require you to get and keep some type of steady employment. Your probation officer wants to know you’re working and are being a productive member of society, and some will want to see a pay stub or some other proof of employment.
If you have any questions about how probation works in the State of Texas, be sure to speak to someone at Gale Law Group. We’re a criminal defense lawyer in Corpus Christi with years of combined experience in dealing with these types of cases, and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have.