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Probation and Community Supervision in Texas is an alternative to incarceration that permits offenders to live and work in the community, support their families, receive rehabilitative services and make restitution to the victims of their crimes. There is no difference between Probation and Community Supervision. Both Probation and Community Supervision refer to the same thing and you will bear both therms used while completing your sentence in Texas. Probation and Community Supervision are broken down into two areas:
If your sentence is 10 years or longer, probation isn’t an option. Juries are allowed to probate most criminal offenses, but judges are limited to which criminal offenses can and can’t be probated. The Code of Criminal Procedure 42.12 Section 3g defines which criminal offenses that can’t be probated. These criminal offenses are known as “3g offenses” in Texas.
“3G Offenses” in Texas
- Aggravated kidnapping
- Aggravated robbery
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Capital murder
- Compelling prostitution
- Criminal solicitation cases that are punishable as a felony of the first degree
- Drug cases where a child is used in the commission of the offense, or the offense took place within 1,000 feet of a school or on a school bus
- Indecency with a child
- Injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual, if the offense is punishable as a felony of the first degree
- Sexual assault
- Sexual performance by a child
- Trafficking of persons
Is there a difference between probation and parole in Texas?
Probation is different from parole in Texas. Probation is supervision in the community instead of being in jail. Parole is supervision in the community after serving a part of your sentence in jail or prison.
What kind of probation fees will I have to pay?
Court-ordered probation fees include:
- Payment of fines
- Payment of court costs
- Payment of adult probation fees
Depending on your particular case, the Court may add any of these probation fees:
- Payment of your court-appointed attorney fees
- Payment of restitution (repaying the victim for what was lost or damaged)
What can happen if you get behind on your probation payments?
Remember that your probation payments are court-ordered and must be made timely. If you fall behind on your probation payments your probation officer can recommend a new payment plan to the Court.
If you have any questions about your probation payments you need to speak with your probation officer immediately.
The Probation Officer’s Job
A probation officer can be your best friend while you’re on probation. They can help you setup needed appointments, answering questions you have, and referring you to the necessary classes you have to complete.
Probation officers will also supervise you as directed by the Court, and to inform the Court how you are abiding by the rules. Protect the community, by seeing you at home or work as well at their office. Provide community-based referrals, such as drug or alcohol counseling, employment counseling and literacy preparation that will help you positively change your life and be a law abiding citizen.
Conditions of Probation in Texas
While on probation in Texas, you are expected to follow your conditions, and not break the law or use alcohol and/or drugs. You may also be ordered to complete classes and programs. Below are frequently asked questions about conditions of probation.
- Can I leave town if I’m on probation?
You can only leave town while on probation if approved by your Probation Officer. Since you need permission to travel outside the County, you should talk to your Probation Officer about any travel plans well in advance. If your travel plans are approved, your Probation Officer will give you a travel permit.
- Can I move while I’m on probation?
If you plan to move outside the county, you must get permission from your Probation Officer. If permission is granted, your Probation Officer will make arrangements to have you report to a Probation Office in the County/State where you will reside. Your Probation Officer must always know where you are living. You will need to get permission from your Probation Officer to move at any time.
- What do I have to do if I change jobs?
You must notify your Probation Officer immediately if you’re no longer employed or change jobs.
- Can I bring my kids to my Probation Office visits?
No, kids can’t come with you to your Probation Office visit. Some visits may take up to two hours to complete, depending on the purpose of the office visit. You have to find someone to watch your kids prior to your office visit.
- How do I complete Community Service Restitution (CSR) hours?
Your Probation Officer will refer you to complete your CSR hours. Those hours will either be completed at a Department approved nonprofit agency or through our Department’s CSR Work Crew. If you have any questions about your CSR requirement, ask your Probation Officer.
- Can I still vote while on probation?
Yes for a misdemeanor charge and a felony that has been deferred but no for a felony.
- Can I serve on a jury while on probation?
Yes you can serve on a jury while on probation if you were charged with a misdemeanor (not theft), but no if you were charged with a misdemeanor (theft) or a felony.
- Office visits to my Probation Officer
You must be on time for every office visit and you should ask your Probation Officer each month what paperwork you need to bring when you report for your next scheduled office visit. Reporting to your Probation Officer is extremely important.
- Will I be tested for drugs or alcohol?
You will be submitting breathalyzers and urine specimens that test for the use drugs and/or alcohol. These tests will be required by our Probation Officer and/or the Court.
- What is electronic monitoring (ELM)?
If electronic monitoring is ordered by the Court as a condition of your probation, you will have to wear an ankle bracelet for the length of time required by the Judge. You must have a home telephone to use ELM. While on ELM, you will only be allowed to leave your home as approved by your Probation Officer and/or the Court.
- What is an Ignition Interlock device?
An Igniting Interlock device is a piece of equipment that you must have installed in your vehicle if ordered by the Court. It’s used to verify you’re not using alcohol and driving. If you are ordered to have an Ignition Interlock device installed, but do not drive or own a vehicle, you must sign a Notarized Affidavit swearing you will not drive while on probation.
- What do I have to do to complete a DNA test if ordered?
If you’re ordered to complete a DNA test, you must give a blood sample when scheduled by your Probation Officer.
- What if I have a drug/alcohol problem or have been ordered to complete treatment?
You will have an alcohol or drug evaluation before you can start a treatment program. This evaluation determines the type of treatment that you will need to complete. Your Probation Officer will tell you when you’re to begin treatment. You will also be told the treatment co-payment you will be required to pay if necessary.
- Will I have to complete a DWI class?
If you’re required to complete a DWI class you will be referred to a program for DWI education. You must complete your DWI class within 180 days of the date you started your probation. You will be required to pay the entire cost of these classes.
- What if I need help with my education or would like to get a GED?
There are a number of local educational programs. If you have trouble reading and writing, your Probation Officer can refer you to a basic adult literacy class. If you would like to learn how to speak English better, your Probation Officer can refer you to an English as a second language class. If you don’t have a high school diploma, your Probation Officer can refer you to GED preparation and testing. To enroll in one of these programs, see your Probation Officer.
- What if I am ordered to complete a class not listed above?
There are several other programs provided in the community to help you. There are anger management classes, sex offender therapy, theft classes, etc. Your Probation Officer will refer you to the classes.
- What happens if I violate my conditions (rules) of probation?
If you choose not to follow the conditions of your Probation, your Probation Officer will take action. This action could include requesting a warrant for your arrest, the Judge could require you to return to court to add more conditions to your probation, or your probation could be revoked and you could be sent to jail.
- Can I get off probation early?
Yes and no. The law doesn’t permit Early Discharge for some offenses. However, for others, you can hire a criminal defense attorney to petition the Court for an early discharge. See your criminal attorney for more information on Early Discharge of your probation.
- If I have firearms and ammunition, can I keep them and/or buy more?
Your Probation Officer will discuss this with you at your office visit. You need to ask your Probation Officer for specifics.