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Defending Against a Motion to Revoke Probation

Probation can be a second chance for individuals who have run afoul of the law in Texas. It offers an opportunity to serve a sentence in the community under prescribed conditions rather than behind bars. However, probation isn’t a guaranteed relief from jail time. Certain actions by the probationer can lead to government efforts to revoke the probationary sentence.

Motions to revoke probation are typically initiated by a probation officer or a prosecutor. Grounds for filing such a motion in Texas include allegations of the following conduct by probationers:

  • Committing a new criminal offense
  • Failure to report to the probation officer
  • Missing required visits with your probation officer
  • Failure to pay fines and restitution
  • Testing positive for controlled substances or alcohol
  • Consorting with known felons
  • Crossing state lines without permission
  • Violating orders to stay away from certain individuals or places

If you are facing a revocation motion, be aware that there is no trial to a jury and the prosecutor can prove a probation violation based on a lower standard of evidence in a hearing to the judge in your case. However, you will be granted a court hearing at which you will be asked to state whether the alleged violations are true or not true. You then have the right to defend yourself and your actions in a number of ways, such as the following:

  • Proving innocence — If the alleged violation is commission of a new offense, you can present evidence to show that you are innocent of the charge. This may involve presenting witness testimonies, security camera footage or other evidence.
  • Explanations for non-compliance — If you failed to report, make payments or attend classes due to circumstances beyond your control (e.g., medical emergencies or job loss), be prepared to provide documentation to support your claims.
  • Challenging the validity of the violation — In some cases, probation officers or testing procedures may make mistakes. If you believe a violation was incorrectly reported, you can challenge the accuracy of the allegations.
  • Rehabilitative efforts — Demonstrating a commitment to rehabilitation can be a strong defense. Completing counseling or rehabilitation programs, seeking employment or enrolling in educational courses can show that you are working to better yourself.
  • Negotiating alternative outcomes — In some cases, it may be possible to reach an agreement to avoid revocation, such as extending probation, adding more conditions or requiring attendance in a rehabilitation program.

Fighting a revocation motion can be tough, but an experienced probation attorney can assist you in making a showing of your commitment to rehabilitation and to future compliance with probationary conditions.

Tylden Shaeffer, Attorney at Law, P.C. in San Antonio represents Texans in probation violation hearings and other criminal defense matters. To schedule a free initial consultation about your case, please call (210) 227-1500 or contact me online.

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