Oh no! I Screwed Up My Probation! What Do I Do?
A probation revocation is a very serious legal issue. Often, it is more serious than getting the original charge. There are typically more options available when the original charge is pending. With a probation revocation, the options are much more limited. The case situation is far more serious as the judge, prosecutor, and probation officer view a revocation as a defiance of court orders. The first thing to do is to call our office. It is imperative that we speak with you before you speak with your probation officer. Anything and everything you say to your probation officer can and will be used against you. Call our office and we will advise you of the next proper steps to take.
At the Coffey Firm, we view your case as ongoing even after it is over. We encourage all of our clients to call us with any questions they may have. These can range from, “My probation officer won’t let me go on vacation” to “Do you think I can get my probation officer to put me on mail-in probation?” We are here to help you throughout the entire process.
Now, when there is a problem, it is critical to call us. Texas probation revocations are very serious matters. Texas assumes that you are a law breaker when you don’t satisfactorily comply with the judge’s orders. This is a very serious matter. Texas probation revocations tend to be more serious than the original charge. There is always a question of guilt/innocence when an arrest occurs. The benefit of the doubt goes away once put on probation. Courts interpret failure to live up to probation terms as defiance of court orders and conditions. Courts take quicker action on probation revocations. They view probationers not in compliance more dangerously. Texas probation revocations are very serious charges.
A probation revocation means that a citizen on probation has violated the terms and conditions of their probation. Even a person on a non-reporting, mail in, or call in probation is considered to have their probation violated when a condition is broken. It is not unusual on lesser grade offenses, such as driving while license suspended, to have non-reporting probation. Also, it is not unusual for someone on misdemeanor probation to transition to mail in or call in probation upon completing half their probationary term.
There are legal ramifications in addition to punishment that occur as a result of probation revocation. For example, a DWI probation revocation may result in an additional license suspension for a first time DWI offender.
What kind of actions will cause my probation to be revoked?
A probation revocation can result from something as simple as picking up a non-moving class C ticket (e.g. public intoxication). They are more commonly filed when a probationer fails to fulfill conditions, such as fails to report to probation, fails a drug or alcohol test, or fails to complete community service or mandated classes and counseling. Picking up a new charge definitely results in a motion to revoke probation.
Terms of probation typically require probationers to report any violations or arrests to their probation officers. Probation officers routinely screen public data resources to verify their probationers are in compliance. When not, a probation officer will make a decision as to offer a punishment (a voluntary amendment to the probation) or file a motion to revoke probation. Either way, it is very important that you call our office immediately to discuss your options.
Once the prosecutor files a motion to revoke, it will be necessary for us to get a bond set. The unfortunate part is that this also means that spending some time in jail may be necessary until the judge sets bond. Otherwise, a probationer may be picked up and languish in jail while the court resolves the revocation. Probation revocations are routinely accompanied by “no bond” directions with an arrest warrant. It is very common for a probationer to report to probation and be arrested once a violation has occurred. Please call our office immediately so we can avoid as much inconvenience as possible in this process.
Will I go to jail for a probation revocation?
Unless handled as an “amendment” (which often still results in jail), there will be a mandatory jail process in order to post a bond. There are two major options when faced with a criminal charge: probation or incarceration. Jail or prison is a very realistic possibility in a probation revocation. It is therefore very necessary to call our office as soon as possible to discuss the best options. A common solution advocated by the probation officer and prosecutor once a they file a probation revocation is to disguise jail or prison as “rehab”. It is imperative that we meet with you as soon as possible to minimize the damage and provide more alternatives if possible. Mistakes happen. It is our goal to get you the best possible resolution.
The first thing we advise our clients to do is to call us when there is a problem so we can give tailored advice to the exact scenario. Every probation violation is unique. Sometimes, it may be possible for our office to handle the situation with a phone call to discuss options with the probation officer. Otherwise, we will need to contact the probation officer to find out when there will be a warrant. Upon issuing a warrant, it will be necessary to contact both the prosecutor and judge to get a bond set. More than likely, the court will set a bond that includes added bond conditions. This can range from additional pre-trial reporting to requiring a SCRAM bracelet (alcohol monitoring) or GPS monitoring.
Courts tend to move a lot quicker on revocations than on the original case. Judges do not like to have pending probation revocations on their docket. They want them finalized as soon as possible. Judges consider these dangerous cases. Judges fear the actions of a probationer that cannot abide by conditions. For example, the Weatherford, Texas deaths of five young high school girls occurred by someone on DWI probation who could not stop drinking and driving intoxicated. Please understand that we offer limited options on payment plans for probation revocations for this purpose. These cases, by their nature, move quickly per order of the judge.
What can The Coffey Firm do for my probation revocation?
Our firm must be alerted as soon as there is a problem so that we can gather the facts and best assess the correct course of action. We need to understand the circumstances of the violation. We need to investigate to see if there is an actual violation. For example, what one probation officer may interpret as failed alcohol readings on an interlock, may not in fact be a violation. It is often necessary that we independently order interlock or in-home records, or seek more specific information on drug or alcohol tests that were given. We discuss your case with the probation officer, prosecutor and judge.
On full-blown probation revocations, it is necessary that we get the judge to order a release of the probation “chronos” (chronological history) and go over this with you so that we can fully understand the history, actions previously taken, and any possible miscommunications or misunderstandings. We will be giving you a recommendation as to actions that you can take privately and independently that may satisfy the court and prosecutor or mitigate damages.
What are my options?
The options for a probation revocation are all over the map. They range from complete dismissal of the revocation to prison and everything in between. Mimi has 25 years experience dealing with probation revocations of all different types of charges. In her experience, she has seen probation revocation matters disposed of without motions to revoke filed. She has also seen revocations completely dismissed (which are generally accompanied by a resolution agreed to by all parties).
If you messed up while being on probation, do not throw in the towel. Now, more than ever, it is time to take productive measures to address the situation and positively moved forward. Although you may be at the mercy of the court, you are responsible for making the best out of the situation and we are here to help. Everyone makes mistakes. What matters is how we respond. We, at the Coffey Firm, are here to do the best we can to getting you back to your best self, for your sake and the sake of everyone else. Nothing is ever a lost cause. Don’t give up. Give us a call quickly so we can fix this situation. Mimi has fixed thousands just like yours, if not worse.
When people look for a Top DWI Attorney or Best DWI Attorney, they look for experience, certification, and respect in the legal community. Mimi Coffey is a nationally-renowned trial attorney, board-certified in DWI by the NCDD. She has been practicing for over 24 years and is an author of multiple DWI Defense textbooks. She is also a national and state-wide lecturer on the law.
The Coffey Firm handles a wide variety of cases, including Unlawful Carrying Weapon (UCW), Assault (including family violence), Theft and Possession charges.
Mimi is also listed on several “top” directory listings such as DWI Lawyers for Wise County, DWI Lawyer Tarrant County, DWI attorney Dallas County, DWI attorneys Collin County and DWI attorneys Parker County. Mimi is a caring DWI Lawyer in DFW, She is also involved in the Texas Tech School of Law foundation and enjoys using the skills she has developed to give back to the community.