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Violating probation carries serious consequences

Imagine that you have been convicted of a crime like shoplifting. You went to court and pled your case but a jury still found you guilty. In addition to the fees and fines you had to pay, the court also handed you a year of probation. In other words, you have to meet certain conditions such as performing community service, not leaving the county and, of course, staying out of legal trouble. But what happens if you cannot meet these terms and end up violating your probation?

In general, probation violation occurs when an individual has broken the terms of his or her probation. The punishment that results often depends on the seriousness and nature of the violation. Here are a few things that can happen when a person violates their probation.

Warning or court appearance

In many cases, it is up to the probation officer when it comes to what happens next after a probation violation. For instance, your probation officer could simply issue you a warning. This might happen for a first and relatively minor offense. However, your probation officer could require you to appear before the court for a hearing. During the hearing with the judge, the probation officer may request that the court impose a penalty for the violation. This could include jail time or a few months tacked on to the probation period.

During the hearing

During the hearing, the judge will listen to the case before making a determination on whether you violated the terms of your probation. While hard evidence isn't necessarily a requirement, the prosecutor must prove that the likelihood of the violation having occurred is greater than 50%. The judge will consider the evidence along with any prior probation violations and any other factors that have a bearing on your case.

Sentencing

If the Texas court decides that you are guilty of the violation, you can expect sentencing not long after the hearing concludes. The court may choose to lengthen the probation period, add a few more terms to the probation, order you to report to jail or even completely revoke the probation. If a revocation occurs, you may end up having to serve the rest of the original sentence behind bars.

If you are worried about a probation violation, keep in mind that you still have rights. You might be able to defend yourself in court and prove that there were mitigating circumstances that caused you to violate your probation and avoid any of the penalties that may result.

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