By Dallas and Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy F. Rosenthal
When you’re on probation in Texas, you are given a host of “terms and conditions” of probation (otherwise more formally known as “community supervision.”). Those terms and conditions comprise the laundry list of everything you’re responsible for doing (or not doing as the case may be.)
Common examples of terms and conditions of probation are community service hours and paying off costs and fines. Usually the nature of the underlying case is reflected in some of the probation requirements. For example, in a theft case the prosecutor may recommend an anti-theft class and prohibition from entry into a store where the theft occurred.
For DWI probation, the legislature has made several requirements which must be completed. Examples are attending a victim impact panel and going to a DWI class. Recently the legislature has added provisions for drunk driving probation depending on the blood alcohol level of persons arrested. In cases where the blood or breath test is over a 0.15, a deep lung device must be installed on the vehicle for at least 1/2 of the probation period.
Drug offenders are generally required to give random urinalyses and it is not uncommon for probation on drug and alcohol cases to be fairly intensive. In some extreme cases (felonies), the Judge can order a person to go to county or state-run in-patient rehabilitation which can take upwards of a year to complete. Even though the program is essentially prison — it is done as a “pre-requisite” of probation.
It is a safe assumption that a violation of the laws of the State of Texas or any other state can trigger a revocation.
A probation officer does not determine whether you have violated your probation (regardless of what they tell you). They do have a lot of power, however, in a revocation proceeding. Usually it is the probation officer that can trigger the violation to be heard by a judge by suggesting the prosecutor file a “motion to revoke” or “motion to adjudicate” in deferred adjudication cases. The judge determines whether there has been a violation and it is a much lower standard of proof than would normally be at trial.
Read here to learn how a revocation or adjudication proceeding works in Texas.
*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and licensed by the Supreme Court of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For specific legal advice about any situation you should always contact an attorney directly.