What Is Probation?
What is the difference between probation and community supervision?
There is no difference. Community supervision is the same as probation.
Types of Supervision
PRETRIAL SUPERVISION: A person may be required by the Court to participate in a Bond Supervision or Pre-Trial Diversion Program. Conditions will vary and may include to abstain from the use of alcohol or any illicit drug use, submit to random urinalysis or breath analysis, have no contact with certain persons or minors, and any other conditions ordered by the Court. Fees are ordered as conditions of bond or pre-trial supervision.
FELONY CONVICTION PROBATION: A person placed on Felony Probation (Community Supervision) has been sentenced to a term of incarceration in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice-Institutional Division (the state penitentiary) or a State Jail facility and the judge has allowed the individual to serve that term out in society, subject to the conditions of probation. There are several civil rights and federal firearm disabilities addressed below. The Texas Department of Public Safety will automatically suspend the driver license of anyone convicted of a drug offense, Driving While Intoxicated- Subsequent.
FELONY DEFERRED ADJUDICATION: When a person has been placed on Deferred Adjudication, the judge has indicated that there is sufficient evidence to find the defendant guilty, but the case is put on “hold”, and the defendant is placed on probation for a specific number of years, subject to the conditions of probation. The defendant has not been found guilty and had punishment assessed at this stage of the trial, therefore, there is no felony conviction or interruption of a defendant’s rights except that he may not purchase, or receive any firearms. If a probationer’s Deferred Adjudication is revoked, the Judge may assess the maximum punishment allowed by law.
MISDEMEANOR CONVICTION PROBATION: Unless a defendant is placed on Misdemeanor Probation for theft or Assault Family Violence, no civil rights are lost. The Judge generally sentences the defendant to a period of confinement in jail, but probates the sentence for a time period of up to the maximum allowed by law. In Driving While Intoxicated cases after January 1, 1984, a misdemeanor probated sentence can be used to enhance future DWI offenses to a second or felony DWI. A person who has been convicted of Assault Family Violence may not possess a firearm for five years after their discharge from probation. The Texas Department of Public Safety will automatically suspend the driver license of anyone convicted of a drug offense, a DWI offense committed under the age of twenty-one, DWI-Second, and for Driving While License Suspended.
MISDEMEANOR DEFERRED ADJUDICATION: A person receiving Deferred Adjudication for a misdemeanor case is not convicted of the offense but is subject to the conditions of probation until completion of the assessed term of probation. If a probationer’s Deferred Adjudication Probation is revoked, the Judge may assess the maximum punishment allowed by law. Individuals probated for DWI offense are not eligible for Deferred Adjudication.
THE MAIN DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MISDEMEANOR AND A FELONY CASE IS THAT A DEFENDANT CAN BE SENTENCED TO PRISON OR A STATE JAIL FOR A FELONY OFFENSE BUT NOT FOR A MISDEMEANOR. IF MISDEMEANOR PROBATION IS REVOKED, THE DEFENDANT MAY BE SENTENCED TO SERVE TIME IN THE COUNTY JAIL.
Conditions of Probation
REFER TO YOUR COPY OF THE CONDITIONS FOR SPECIFIC ORDERS IN YOUR CASE.
Common conditions of probation may include the following items:
COMMIT NO OFFENSE AGAINST THE LAWS OF THIS STATE, OR ANY OTHER STATE, OR OF THE UNITED STATES. This means any violation of the law. Notify your Probation Officer upon being arrested or ticketed. The Probation Officer is notified by the Department of Public Safety of any arrest, so it is best to let your Officer know right away.
AVOID INJURIOUS OR VICIOUS HABITS; ABSTAIN FROM THE USE OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES AND NARCOTIC OR HABIT FORMING DRUGS, MARIJUANA AND CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES. While on probation, absolutely no drinking of alcoholic beverages. Usage of narcotic or habit-forming drugs without a physician’s permission is not allowed. NO EXCEPTIONS.
AVOID PERSONS OR PLACES OF DISREPUTABLE OR HARMFUL CHARACTER: (INCLUDING PLACES WHERE NARCOTIC DRUGS, MARIJUANA AND CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES ARE PRESENT, SOLD OR USED; AND WHERE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES ARE SOLD), AND DO NOT ASSOCIATE WITH PERSONS WHO HAVE A CRIMINAL RECORD. Do not be in the company of anyone convicted of a felony, co-defendants in your case, or anyone who can get you in trouble. Stay away from people who use drugs or alcohol, and places where they are sold, served, or used. Stay out of bars and “beer-joints”, etc. It is permissible to go to restaurants and stores that have alcohol as long as you do not drink.
REPORT TO THE PROBATION OFFICER WEEKLY OR AS OTHERWISE DIRECTED. This is a maximum reporting schedule. When you are first placed on probation, your Officer may have you report this often. If you live or work outside of this County, you are required to report as directed by the supervising Probation Office in the county where your case is transferred, and send written reports to this office as instructed.
PERMIT THE PROBATION OFFICER TO VISIT YOU AT YOUR HOME OR ELSEWHERE. The Probation Officer may visit you at your home or job. These visits generally will be unannounced. The purpose of these visits is to assist the Probation Officer in knowing you better, to converse with you in your own surroundings, and to talk with your family regarding any progress or problems.
OBTAIN AND KEEP GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT IN A LAWFUL OCCUPATION. If you are physically able, you must work, unless you are retired, fulltime student, or fully supported by another willing individual such as a spouse. If you cannot find a job, your Probation Officer can tell you the best places to look for jobs, job training, etc. Occasionally the Courts or the Probation Officer will not allow a probationer to work in a particular occupation or location, or may require that the probationer advise the employer of the fact that he/she is on probation. This occurs primarily when a probationer is in a position to commit an offense similar to the one for which he/she is on probation.
DO NOT CHANGE YOUR PLACE OF RESIDENCE AND REPORT ANY CHANGES IN EMPLOYMENT OR MARITAL STATUS TO YOUR OFFICER WITHIN FIVE DAYS. Before changing jobs or moving, you must secure permission from your Probation Officer.
REMAIN WITHIN THE COUNTY UNLESS GIVEN WRITTEN PERMISSION TO DEPART BY THE PROBATION OFFICER. Unless otherwise directed, you will be permitted limited travel in your county of residence and surrounding counties. If you are to be out of this county for more than 24 hours, you must secure a travel permit and permission from your Probation Officer. If you plan to travel out of this designated area for any period of time, but within Texas you must obtain permission from your Probation Officer. If you wish to leave Texas you must obtain an Out-of-State travel permit from your Probation Officer. All travel outside the United States requires the approval of your sentencing Judge. If you leave Texas without written permission, you will be considered a fugitive. The Probation Officer or the Judge may limit your travel, as they deem appropriate.
SUPPORT YOUR DEPENDENTS. This includes the payment of Court ordered child support and normal support of your family dependents.
PAY YOUR FINE IF ONE WAS ASSESSED, AND THE COSTS OF COURT, IN ONE OR SEVERAL SUMS, AND MAKE RESTITUTION OR REPARATION IN ANY SUM THE COURT SHALL DETERMINE. Payments must be made as noted in the Conditions of Probation, by the tenth (10 th) day of each month by money order. If you are unable to pay, you must contact your Probation Officer to explain why payment cannot be made. You must report as directed by your Probation Officer even if you cannot make your payment.
PAY A MONTHLY PROBATION SUPERVISION FEE TO THE ADULT PROBATION DEPARTMENT BY THE TENTH (10th) DAY OF EACH MONTH FOLLOWING THIS ORDER. Every person placed on probation is required to pay a monthly probation supervision fee for every month he is on probation, in cashier’s check or money order only, to the probation office in the county where his probation was granted.
SUBMIT TO TESTING FOR ALCOHOL OR DRUGS AND PAY REQUIRED FEES. These samples may be taken at any time and as often as once a day by your supervising probation Officer. Submission of doctored (or adulterated) samples will be dealt with by possible additional charges and the Courts through revocation.
PERFORM A SPECIFIED NUMBER OF HOURS OF COMMUNITY SERVICE RESTITUTION UNDER THE DIRECTION AND SUPERVISION OF THE PROBATION OFFICER. This is work for which you will not be paid but will be done for the community’s benefit. Your Probation Officer will make arrangements for referral to a court-approved agency. If you were ordered to perform more than the minimum hours allowed by law for the degree of your offense and you perform 32 hours or more per month you may be eligible for an additional 8 hours of extra credit. Extra credit towards CSR may also be granted for obtaining a GED or high school diploma.
PROVIDE VERIFICATION OF EMPLOYMENT AND INCOME. You are required to provide copies of paycheck stubs, W-2 forms, Federal Income Tax returns and similar documents.
REPORTING REQUIREMENTS FOR DEPORTED PROBATIONER. If deported, do not return to the United Statesillegally. Report by mail every month and provide verification of income. If you return to the United States, you must report to the Community Supervision and Corrections Department within 10 days of re-entry.
THERE ARE MANY CONDITIONS WHICH MAY BE ADDED TO YOUR PROBATION SUCH AS ALCOHOL OR DRUG EDUCATION, PARTICIPATION IN ALCOHOLICS AND/OR NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS MEETINGS, MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELING, IN OR OUT PATIENT DRUG OR ALCOHOL TREATMENT, ETC. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR COMPLETING THESE PROGRAMS OR SPECIAL CONDITIONS AND FOR THE FINANCIAL COST OF MOST. IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, CHECK WITH YOUR PROBATION OFFICER.
Early Termination of Probation
The law in Texas allows for the Court to consider a defendant for early release from probation after they have satisfactorily completed one-third of the original probationary period or two years of probation. Persons placed on standard probation (adjudicated) after September 1, 2007 for three years or more are considered for an early termination after having completed one half or a minimum of two years, whichever is more. There are exceptions in the law prohibiting early termination as noted below in bold text. Early Termination is not probable if any violations of probation have occurred during the supervision. All fines, court costs, restitution, etc. must be paid-in-full, probation supervision fees must be up-to-date and all programs completed for the Court to consider an early discharge. If you do not qualify for an Administrative consideration for early termination you have the right to hire an attorney to petition the Court on your behalf.
Individuals convicted of Intoxication Offenses under sections 49.04-49.08 Penal Code, Sex Offenses requiring registration under Chapter 62 and defendants convicted of a felony described by Section 3g CCP are not eligible for Early Termination by law.
Persons placed on probation including deferred adjudication for an offense occurring on or after September 1, 2011, punishable as a state jail felony or a felony of the third degree other than Intoxication Offenses under section 49 Penal Code, an offense involving family violence as defined by Section 71.004 Family Code, or included as a reportable conviction or adjudication under Article 62.001(5) or under section 20.03 or 28.02 Penal Code, and is not delinquent in paying required fines, costs or fees, and has fully paid any court ordered restitution will receive time credits towards the period of probation for successful completion of the court ordered conditions noted below. Time credits may also initiate a review for an early termination if otherwise eligible. The Court may order any or all time credits be forfeited at a hearing under Section 21 CCP.