Out of County Probation Violations in Fort Worth
When a person is placed on probation, they’re usually given a condition which requires them to disclose any arrests or offenses for which they’re accused or found guilty while they’re on probation. If a person is on probation in one state and gets arrested or accused of a crime in another state, then the probation officer supervising the probation may not find out about it, especially if it’s just a misdemeanor. It’s much more likely that they’ll find out if it’s a felony, but even in those situations they sometimes won’t find out. If they do find out, then that can be used as a reason to possibly revoke their probation.
Again, the person has a right to a hearing. If the only allegation is the offense in another state, then it can often be difficult for the prosecution to prove that the person committed a criminal offense in another state (or to bring the necessary witnesses to prove it). If they’re found guilty of it in another state, then the prosecution may just be able to prove they were found guilty by producing records of the conviction. Sometimes these records are insufficient, and a probation violation attorney in Fort Worth can win the hearing based on insufficiency of the records to prove something. If it’s an offense in the same state, then it’s much more likely that the probation officer would find out about it. Oftentimes if we’re helping someone who’s on probation in another state and they’re accused of an offense in our state, we can get a favorable resolution quickly and prevent them from ever having any difficulty with their probation in their home state.
That can also be true if they’re on probation in another county in Texas; if we can successfully handle their new offense or allegation here, then we’ll re-represent them, and that can possibly keep them from ever having any trouble on their probation in another county in Texas. If they are on probation here in Tarrant County and they get a new offense in another state (or another county of Texas), we may help them find expert representation. Hopefully, that would help them to get a quick and favorable resolution in that other county or state so that it doesn’t negatively affect the probation that they’re on here.
Role of The Probation Officer
Anytime there’s a hearing in court on a motion to revoke probation, there has to be a formal written motion filed in court alleging that the person on probation has committed a violation. Sometimes we’re able to win based on insufficiencies in the written document alleging the violation of probation. The media likes to call things like this “technicalities”. But quite often, we win and get our clients off. The hearing is in the open courtroom, which the public can attend. Usually, the public doesn’t even know or care much about it. The judge presides and is the finder of facts, which means that there is no jury trial and there is no jury. The probation revocation is considered a civil administrative hearing, so some of the rules regarding criminal trials don’t apply. Because of this, it’s important that a person have expert representation with a firm like ours- a firm that has great experience in probation revocation hearings and that knows the particular rules that apply.
Prosecution of Probation Violation Cases
The prosecution (sometimes we call them the state or the district attorney) has the burden of proof. They have to prove that the defendant was given specific terms or conditions of probation and that they violated one of those terms. This has to be set out in a motion to revoke probation. They have to prove what they set out in the motion to revoke probation. So if it’s a new offense, then they have to prove that the person actually committed the new offense. If it’s a technical violation, such as failing to report or not completing a counseling program, then they have to actually prove that the person failed to report or failed to complete the counseling program. We’re often able to win these hearings by showing that the person did not commit the new offense, that they did not fail to report, or that they did not fail to complete a counseling program within the prescribed period of time. If we’re successful in showing this, then the person’s probation is not revoked.
The prosecution has to prove the violation by a preponderance of the evidence, which means greater weight of the evidence. If they fail to prove this, then we win the hearing. So, we’re able to win many of these hearings. If we cannot win the hearing and the judge finds it true that the person violated the probation, then the judge can revoke the person’s probation and send them to prison for up to the original term of time in prison for which they were placed on probation. For instance, if they’re on probation for a class A misdemeanor and they were given six months in jail, then the judge could send them to jail for up to the six-month period that they had suspended when they were placed on probation.
There is a different type of probation called Deferred Adjudication. If a person is on Deferred Adjudication for a class A misdemeanor for which the punishment is up to a year in jail, then the judge can give them up to that full year in jail if the judge finds it true and adjudicates them guilty of the offense. The probation officer is also involved in a probation revocation to the extent that they have the prosecution’s ear and can express their desires about whether or not they want the person revoked. The probation officer can be called as a witness at the hearing.
Sometimes we’re able to convince the probation officer that they don’t want the person to be revoked or that they don’t want the person to go to jail. In those cases, the probation officer can be used as a persuasive person to convince the prosecution not to proceed or not to revoke the person’s probation. So, we’re sometimes able to use the probation officer to our clients’ benefits.