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What Are the Two Main Types of Probation in Texas?

 Posted on April 09, 2024 in Criminal Law

Tarrant County, TX criminal defense lawyerThe purpose of probation is to give a second chance to people who have been charged with committing a crime. Also referred to as “community supervision,” probation involves programs and restrictions designed to help a person remain part of society and avoid incarceration. Not all crimes are eligible for probation.

Probation rules in Texas can be very different depending on whether the defendant committed a misdemeanor or a felony. In either case, probation violation is very serious and can negatively affect the probationer’s future. Understanding your rights is crucial to getting through probation safely, which is why it is important to retain a criminal defense attorney who is familiar with the criminal justice system.

In Texas, there are two main types of probation: straight probation and deferred adjudication probation. 

What is Straight Probation?

If a defendant is given straight probation, also known as regular probation, it means he or she has already been found guilty by a court and is considered as having been convicted of a crime. In this case, the judge will have already sentenced the defendant but has placed the sentence on hold as long as the defendant complies with the probation.

Here are some key points to know about straight probation according to Texas law:

  • If the crime is a felony, the probation period will typically be equal to the minimum term of imprisonment punishable for the offense.

  • Probation for a felony is limited to five years for some offenses and 10 years for others.

  • The probationer can petition the court to be reviewed for early release after he or she has served a third of the probation term or two years, whichever is less. The judge can deny the review.

  • The court is, however, obligated to conduct the review at the request of the defendant if he or she has served at least half of the probation term.

  • If the defendant violates the probation, he or she may be forced to serve the original sentence imposed by the court.

  • Even once probation is completed, the case may not necessarily be dismissed.

What is Deferred Adjudication Probation?

Deferred adjudication probation is a more lenient type of probation in some ways. In this case, the defendant has not been found guilty by the court but has entered a plea of guilty or no contest. For most purposes, he or she has not yet been convicted of a crime. 

Here are some key points to know about deferred adjudication probation according to Texas law:

  • If the crime is a felony, probation is limited to 10 years. 

  • If the crime is a misdemeanor, probation cannot exceed two years. 

  • A person charged with an intoxication-related offense is not eligible for this type of probation.

  • The defendant can petition the court at any time to be reviewed for early release.

  • If the defendant violates the probation, he or she can be found guilty by a judge for the original offense and given the maximum sentence under the law.

  • Once the probation has been completed, the case may be dismissed.

Contact a Tarrant County, TX Probation Lawyer

If you are put on probation then you have been given a second chance, but ruining that chance can have drastic consequences that require a solid legal defense. It is also important to note that while you are being monitored under community supervision, it is vital to know your legal rights. Contact the Law Office of Michelle Poblenz, a qualified Dallas, TX criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor for the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office with over 25 years of experience. Call 469-845-3031 today.

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