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Criminal Probation Violations

Article 42.12 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure section 5(a) does not require a trial judge to inform a defendant prior to entering an open plea of guilty or nolo contendere about the possible consequences of a probation violation.

Because community supervision is not a sentence, an unlawful grant of probation is not an illegal or void sentence.  In a 2001 case, the court held that because the defendant failed to prove he was harmed by the unlawful grant of probation, where he had received probation even though he was ineligible for it because of a deadly weapon finding.  The Court found that the unlawful grant of probation did not contribute to his conviction or punishment but instead detracted from his punishment by allowing his a suspended sentence when he was not entitled to one, and therefore the defendant was not entitled to habeas corpus relief.

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