According to the federal government, there are about 4.5 million adults on probation in the United States. The rather distressing thing about that number is that it’s the lowest probation population figure in twenty years.
Probationers must always adhere to some strict conditions. A violation could mean a motion to revoke probation. If the judge finds the allegations are true, the judge could completely revoke probation and send the defendant to jail or prison. In most cases, however, a Fort Worth criminal defense attorney is able to defeat the motion or at least engineer a favorable plea bargain agreement.
Commit No Other Offense
This condition is one of the leading revocation triggers. Especially if the new offense is somehow related to the probation matter (e.g. Derek is on DWI probation and is charged with drug possession), judges often react rather harshly.
Report to a Probation Officer
Typically, probationers must report weekly for the first few months. Then, the requirement drops to bimonthly and finally monthly. Any excuse other than hospitalization, incarceration, or perhaps a death in the family is usually unacceptable.
Consent to Search
Some counties do not impose this condition, but Tarrant County does. A probationer must allow “the supervision officer to visit you at your home or elsewhere at any time.” If the probation officer finds any contraband, the officer may seize it under the plain view doctrine. The “visitation” requirement usually includes personal and vehicle searches as well.
Avoid Vicious or Injurious Habits
Drug and alcohol testing is a routine part of probation, especially for alcohol or drug-related infractions. These advanced tests are almost impossible to fake, but they are occasionally inaccurate. Sometimes, a random positive test will not trigger a motion to revoke probation, but do not count on it. Smoking while on probation is usually okay.
Work or Attend School Full Time
At meetings, most probation officers require paystubs, report cards, or other proof of employment and/or school attendance. If there is a medical reason the defendant is not working or going to school, most probation officers let these infractions slide.
Avoid Disreputable Persons
This condition is almost impossible to enforce and even harder to prove in court.
Many probationers are surprised by this condition. Even if the infraction had nothing to do with weapons or violence, it is illegal for most probationers to own or possess firearms in Tarrant County. A workaround may be available, perhaps through an NFA firearm trust.
Probationers who fail to abide by probation conditions may be in serious trouble. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Fort Worth, contact Herreth Law. We routinely handle matters in Tarrant County and nearby jurisdictions.