After beingconvicted of a crime in Texas, you may be sentenced to probation instead of or after your release from jail. In some cases, your sentence may include a provision for jail time in the event that you do not successfully complete your probation. Probation is also known as community supervision, since its intent is to ensure that the community in which you live remains safe and crime-free. Common probation requirements include:
Regular meetings with a probation officer
Avoiding certain people or locations
Periodic court check-ins
Maintaining a job
Most probation terms also include a zero tolerance policy for breaking any law, even minor ones. The exact terms of your probation, however, will vary depending on your original crime. Sexual offenses will requireregistration and submission of a DNA sample, for example. Any failure to adhere to these conditions is considered a probation violation.
Failing to Check in
All individuals on probation are required to report to a probation officer regularly. Missing a scheduled meeting with your probation officer will typically result in immediate action. Your probation officer will attempt to contact you. If he or she cannot get in touch with you or if you cannot provide a legitimate reason for missing your appointment, a warrant may be issued for your arrest. Due to the serious nature of missing a probation check-in, be certain to contact your probation officer immediately if you are running late or would like to reschedule to avoid an arrest warrant.
Probation Violation Penalties
The penalties for violating the terms of your probation, including missing a meeting, will depend on exactly how severe the violation was and on your relationship with your probation officer. Probation officers are allowed some flexibility in how they handle violations. Their reaction may range from a verbal warning to submission of an official report recommending the revocation of your probation.
If the violation is minor and your first violation, your probation officer is more likely to choose to simply issue a warning or assign you community service. These penalties are meant to encourage you to follow the conditions of your probation from that point forward.
More serious violations, such as those involving drugs or alcohol, will likely involve required rehabilitation, fines, or evenjail time. When a probation officer submits an official report of your probation violation, it is possible that your probation will be revoked. In most cases, this means that you will serve out the remainder of your probation sentence in jail.