Texas has changed the definitions regarding DWI probation violation. What was called the Adult Probation Department, is now the Community Supervision and Corrections Department. The terms of probation officer and probation were also changed by the Texas Legislature to community supervision officer and community supervision. If convicted of a DWI in Texas, you are more than likely facing community supervision (probation) as part of your sentencing.
A probated jail sentence and fine are often attached to this conviction as a misdemeanor DWI charge. Talk with Andrew Deegan DWI Attorney at Law for a full explanation of what your possible consequences will be for a DWI charge if convicted. If you have already been convicted and expected to fulfill your probation requirements; but have been charged with a violation, contact Andrew Deegan DWI Attorney at Law to find out what your options are for this violation.
DWI Probation Violations
If you are not following all the conditions of your parole (community supervision), your probation officer can revoke your probation. When probation is revoked, this means there will be a warrant for your arrest issued. Some of the violations include:
- If you have not attended the scheduled meetings or court dates with your probation officer
- If you have been arrested
- If you have not paid the court-ordered restitution to the victims of your offense
- If you have been caught using drugs or alcohol
- If you have not attended the court-ordered drug and alcohol awareness classes
- If you have possession of any illegal narcotics
Texas deals harshly with probation violations. Your penalties could include loss of your driving privileges, jail time, and additional fines added to whatever were set upon your conviction.
Explanation of Certain Conditions
Probation Officer visits
You must meet with your probation officer as often as the court order says you are to meet. The probation officer can set the time and number of visits required, and you must report to the county where your probation office is located, and your case is filed.
Do not get arrested
You cannot violate the law in any manner. If you do and are arrested, you must contact your probation officer immediately. They will be notified by the Public Safety Office of the arrest, and it is better for you to be upfront and honest by reporting the incident yourself before the paperwork reaches the probation officer.
Pay your fine or restitution
You have to pay any fines attached to your probation along with any other court costs assigned to you by the judge. Your payments will be expected by the 10th day of each month in the form of a money order, or cashier’s check. If there are any reasons you cannot make your payments, let your probation officer know right away.
Submit to an alcohol and drug testing
Samples may be requested at any time and once a day if your supervising probation officer feels it is needed to test you for drug or alcohol use. If you submit altered or doctored samples, you will face additional charges and possible revocation of probation.
These and other conditions must be followed, and by disregarding even one condition places you at risk for arrest. If you are arrested, it means time in the County Jail, often without a bond, until your trial. If they are unable to locate you when the arrest warrant is issued, your name will be placed in the Texas and National Crime Information Computer.
There is no time limit, or ‘statute of limitations’ for this warrant, and after arrested, you will be allowed a jury trial, and the burden of proof will be brought down to the preponderance of the evidence. If the judge revokes your probation and you are sentenced to jail or prison, you will receive no credit for any time served on probation. The only credit you will receive is for any successful completion of residential treatment.
Having been given probation as part of your penalty when convicted of any crime, including a DWI, does not mean, you’ve been given a ‘get out jail free’ card. Probation is an alternative granted by the courts in return for your promise to adhere to a set of rules. This alternative is a lesser penalty resulting from your conviction which could have otherwise been much more severe.
The judge presiding over your case can decide to eliminate all of your jail time or limit it to a lesser amount of time if you agree to specific conditions. These conditions can include random drug testing, a promise from you not to drive for any reason, or for limited purposes, and possibly a fine. Agreeing to these terms will allow for you to be placed on probation for a specific time determined by the courts depending on the severity of your conviction.
The judge may also ask for your agreement to other conditions such as counseling, rehabilitation, keeping a clean record which would mean no moving or alcohol-related offenses, and possibly the use of an interlock monitoring device.
Interlock Monitoring Device
The ignition interlock devices used by Texas drivers are put in place as a deterrent for breaking the laws while driving on Texas roadways. This mechanism is installed in the dashboard of your vehicle and acts as an in-car breathalyzer. Many judges ask those convicted of DWI to install these on their vehicles as part of their sentencing, especially if you are convicted for a second DWI.
Texas courts can require installation of the interlock monitoring device as a first-time DWI offense and are mandated to require it with two or more convictions for DWI. This device is often used as one of the conditions for probation to receive a less harsh sentence.
When entering your vehicle, you are required to submit a breath sample into the device. If your sample registers a blood alcohol content higher than the preset level as acceptable, your vehicle will be disabled, and you cannot drive.
The disablement lasts up to 15 minutes before you may try another sample. The device will also require samples continuously as you are driving, spaced about 5 to 15 minutes between requests. You will be required to install one of these devices on each vehicle you drive, with some exceptions granted on commercial vehicles owned by your employer.
The interlock monitoring device has proven to be an excellent deterrent against DWI as it will not allow a vehicle to operate if there is any alcohol detected on the breath. The device records periodically and prints or downloads each time the sensors are calibrated. The information is sent to whichever authority monitors your behavior. If you attempt to tamper with the device, it is set to activate the horn and emergency lights on your vehicle. It will then record this attempt in the device’s memory, and your car will need immediate service. You could face additional penalties if caught tampering with this device.
If you do not follow the rules attached to your probation after being convicted of DWI, you violate your DWI probation. You could then be facing reinstatement of the original penalties, especially the jail time, as well as additional penalties. When probation violations are discovered and reported, the courts will conduct a revocation hearing.
When you miss your scheduled meetings with your probation officer, the judge and your probation officer take a hard line on your consequences. Having excuses such as being sick are not acceptable.
If you absolutely cannot make your scheduled meeting, you have to document your attempt to show up as soon as possible. Send a fax, call, or write to your probation officer to tell them exactly why you could not make the appointment. You will also need a plan to be there for the meeting which should be as soon as possible. This messaging is not your defense, but it will show your efforts and may work in your favor during sentencing.
If arrested while on probation, you have to contact your probation officer within 48 hours. Do not explain your arrest; you will want legal representation with you when they are advised of any new charges. A probation officer can and will testify against you, so information should be limited that you provide to them.
Did Not Pass Drug Test
Many times if you’ve been convicted of a DWI or DWI drugs, you suffer from substance abuse. You do not want an addiction to put you in jail. Part of your probation is more than likely therapy or counseling for drug rehabilitation, so you should full advantage of these treatments.
Another point to remember is probation officers often use the cheapest urine testing equipment available which could mean your failed test is a false positive. Contact the office of Andrew Deegan, attorney at law to discuss your options on retesting if you believe this test is in error.
Probation officers are famous for bullying their clients into saying they used drugs, don’t let this admission be forced from you, contact the attorney’s office to have your rights and future protected.
First Time Probation Violation
The first time you violate your probation, a warrant for your arrest may be issued. When this warrant is issued, you may not have the option for a bond upon arrest. If you are set with a ‘no bond’ arrest, you will need an attorney to request the judge to set a bond for you, which will more than likely be twice the amount of an original bond.
Violating your probation the first time means your probation officer can request a warrant for your arrest through the court. This warrant can be issued for both a misdemeanor or felony probation violation depending on how serious the violation. What happens to you for a violation of probation depends a lot on what type of violation you did and what type of offense you have been convicted of.
The first time you violate probation usually doesn’t end up with a lengthy jail sentence, and in many cases, the judge will warn you of what your consequences could be and what will happen if you violate probation again. A lot of your penalty will depend on the severity of the violation. The conditions of your probation can also be changed to increase the length of your probation time. The judge can also revoke your probation even if it is your first violation in a felony offense and send you to jail to complete your original sentence.
Violations of your probation such as getting behind or not performing your community service hours, or getting behind on court costs and fees do not usually cause you to be sent to do jail time unless the violation gets out of hand. If the violation is because you are not reporting to your probation officer, even as a first-time offense, you will more likely end up with jail time.
The main thing to remember when facing probation violations is the sentencing you receive is entirely up to the judge’s discretion. You can challenge the revocation of your probation with the help of legal counsel; you would have to show the courts you did not violate your conditions and should not lose this privilege.
Probation Revocation Hearing
If you are caught, either by your probation officer or the police, of violating the conditions of your probation, your risk your probation being revoked. Revocation means all or part of your original suspended jail time or prison time can be imposed. You are expected to obey all laws while you are on probation, and even a minor charge makes you subject to penalties for your probation violation as well as the new arrest.
If you have been arrested while on probation, a probation revocation hearing will take place after the courts have dealt with your new offense. If you did not break the law, or have not been arrested but have broken the rules of probation; then the probation revocation hearing can be set as soon as practicable. You will receive written notice of the place, time, and reason for the hearing.
The probation revocation hearing will not be the same as a trial. The prosecution will not have to prove ‘beyond a reasonable doubt,’ they will merely have to show ‘more likely than not.’ For you, this means, the prosecution will only have to show the violation took place with inconsistent results. For example, if you are charged with a new crime, but those charges are dismissed, or you are acquited, the prosecution can show you acted outside the rules of probation and therefore revoke your privilege of probation. Probation is a privilege you can lose easier than your initial freedom.
The hearing will be held in court but without a jury. You, along with your DWI attorney and the prosecution will present evidence to the judge as to why you should or should not be subject to whatever your original penalty should have been. You can have your attorney present for this hearing, but the judge does not have to follow strict rules of evidence during this hearing.
If you have been arrested on a new charge and found to have violated your probation, you can try to negotiate a plea bargain to cover both your cases. This is the time you need strong legal representation by your side. You need an attorney with an understanding of the laws and has experience in the courtroom to help you protect your rights.
Some find the terms of their probation challenging. When you can’t meet those challenges, you may lose the privilege of probation with consequences that can be staggering. Probation is not easy and often disrupts your daily life significantly. For misdemeanor probation, you could be facing:
- Not being able to commit any new crimes
- Meeting with your assigned probations officer at regular intervals
- Not being able to use any drugs or consume any alcohol
- Not being able to visit any nightclubs or bars
- Attending court-ordered therapy, rehabilitation, or counseling treatments
- Providing, at your cost, periodic drug tests
- Performing a set amount of hours of community service
- Paying restitution to any victims of the crime you were convicted
- Paying probation or other court-ordered fees
- Continue to support your family and meet all your financial obligations
You may even have to consent to home inspections and accept restrictions on your driving abilities. The severity of your probation requirements is based on the severity of the crime for which you were convicted.
The terms of probation are high which makes the risk of violating them high. Felony probation violation in Texas is serious. If you are on a Deferred Adjudication for a Third Degree Felony with a Motion to Revoke against you, there are several punishments the judge can impose.
Felony Deferred Adjudication
Being placed on Deferred Adjudication, the judge has decided there is sufficient evidence to find you guilty, but is placing your case on ‘hold’. The judge gives you a set number of years on probation with conditions you are required to follow. You have not yet been found guilty, nor had your punishment assessed at this point of your trial. Since you have not finished your trial, you have not been convicted of a felony, and your right’s have not been interrupted. The one restriction placed on you is the right to receive or purchase a firearm. If the courts revoke the felony deferred adjudication, the judge can require you fulfill maximum punishment allowed by law.
The judge can sentence you up to ten years in prison if you violate felony probation. Having been given a felony deferred adjudication is a special privilege, a second chance to prove yourself and if you fail to follow all the rules, Texas law can become very harsh.
A Straight Probation is less risky to accept from the courts as your prison time is capped. A conviction will have already been placed on your criminal records.
Straight probation is the basic probation granted to someone convicted of a crime that calls for jail time as part of the penalty. By getting probation, you are given an option of not doing time in a county jail or state prison but have to follow a set of strict requirements.
You are eligible for straight probation if convicted of a DWI, but not for a Deferred Adjudication. If your sentence after the conviction of a DWI is for two years of prison probated to five years, you will spend five years under probation.
There will be a probation officer assigned to you, and because of the DWI, you will have specific conditions you will have to follow. With the DWI conviction, your probation rules will require you to stay away from alcohol and install an IID on any vehicle you drive. You will also be required to perform testing of your urine for drugs or alcohol, and required to attend treatment counseling.
The best possible outcome for violating straight probation is the judge will allow you to continue on probation. Suffering through one violation of probation should be a wakeup call to get away from alcohol, drugs or any other influences causing you to break the law. If you need help, there are ways to ask and find what you need. An important factor in probation is to communicate with your probation officer, not go out of your way to avoid them as many TV dramas suggest is the norm. Having a good relationship with your probation officer could be the difference between having your probation revoked or not as they are ultimately the person who will decide whether or not to file a Motion to Revoke.
Find A Fort Worth DWI Attorney Near Me
If you have violated your DWI probation and are facing revocation, contact Andrew Deegan DWI Attorney at Law. Texas law is complicated regarding revocation, and the penalties you could be facing will be harsh. Call 817-470-2128 today and find out how you can protect your freedom. You will need a strong legal defense for probation violation consequences, and we are here to help you.