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Probation and Parole Violations | Houston Defense Lawyer | Ed Chernoff

What is a Probation Violation?

When you have been given probation as part of your sentence, you will have certain requirements that must be met. This could include paying fines in a timely manner, attending specific court-mandated classes, avoiding any other arrests and passing drug testing. When an individual fails in any of their probation requirements, the judge may consider this contemptuous since a sentence of imprisonment was avoided when probation was granted to the offender.

From time to time, the lawyers at Chernoff Law receive phone calls from clients complaining about unreasonable probation officers who accuse them of a probation violation. We always give the same advice: swallow your pride and try to get along. The judge relies heavily on that officer’s reports in a probation hearing. The most realistic way to prevent a probation from being revoked is to keep the motion from being filed in the first place.

We are often asked whether a single violation of a probation condition will result in revocation? In theory, the Judge can revoke for one violation. However, in practice this is rare. The vast majority of judges and probation officers want you to complete your probation successfully. In truth, not all violations are equal. The worst thing you can do is fail to report to your probation officer. If you disappear on them, it will be assumed you are up to something nefarious. If another crime is alleged while on probation, this is likely to trigger a Motion to Revoke. However, most of the “technicals”, including failure to pay fine or restitution, community service or specific classes won’t necessarily result in a revocation, but it might mean a trip to court to explain to the Judge why you have failed to follow her requirements.

Even if a warrant issued for your arrest because of a Motion to Adjudicate or Motion to Revoke, this does not mean you sunk. On many, many occasions we are able to negotiate with the State, probation officer and Judge to get you back on the right track without any further incarceration. If a Motion to Revoke has been filed, the best thing you can do is to take it seriously and address it. Don’t bury your head in the sand! Call Probation Lawyer, Ed Chernoff and follow his instructions specifically. He will help you avoid a conviction and trip to prison.

Communicating Effectively with Judges Is Essential

Some judges consider probation a sort of “contract” between themselves and the person on probation, and view any breach of that contract as an affront to the court. However, there are always two sides to a story, and you can be sure that the probation officer and prosecutor will only reveal the bad information to the judge. Many times when the Judge is made aware of extenuating circumstances, she agrees not to revoke. We have observed that many judges work very hard to find alternatives to sending violating probationers back to jail.

Our founding attorney Ed Chernoff is Board-Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and is a former chief prosecutor and assistant district attorney, and has a great deal of knowledge and experience to offer. We know the judges, and know what to expect from them. We understand how they approach an accusation of a probation violation.

Why Do You Need a Probation Violation Lawyer?

If it appears that your probation officer will not be appeased or a Motion to Revoke for a probation violation has already been filed, contact us to discuss our strategies for defense of probation violations. We can offer effective counsel after any alleged violation of probation.

In some cases, a filing is merely the result of an administrative error. For instance, a mandated class was completed and a certificate was not received, or community service hours were not recorded by the provider. In other situations money may be the problem. An individual may not be able to pay the fines and has passed the period of time in which they must be paid. Each case is unique and must be addressed quickly and carefully by a Houston criminal defense lawyer from Chernoff Law.

Our legal team has extensive experience in criminal court, on both sides of the aisle. It is best to contact our firm at once if you have violated probation and you know a warrant has been issued. If you have already been arrested, we can seek out the alternatives available to you and advocate on your behalf. You deserve a high quality attorney that will address your case with skill, and help you avoid the severe punishments you could face in a violation of probation.

What Happens at a Probation Revocation Hearing?

In the event that a motion for revocation is filed, we will fight to keep you out of jail. There is no right to a jury trial for an alleged violation of probation, and the prosecution doesn’t have to prove a violation beyond a reasonable doubt. However, you do have the right to a hearing and discovery materials. More importantly, you have the right to counsel who can fight the allegations.

A probation revocation hearing is a rare occurrence. Primarily because the Judge is already aware of the allegations and in the majority of cases will tell the parties before a hearing is set what she will do in the event the allegations are proven. However, there are some circumstances where a hearing must be set and defended. Sometimes this is the only way for a defense attorney to provide information to a Judge bent on revoking. It is imperative that you hire a defense attorney who has the experience to handle revocation hearings.

When you need probation violation help, Chernoff Law can guide you through the system and fight for a restoration of your liberty. Contact us for a free consultation if you face violation of probation charges.

What Is Parole Violation in Texas?

An individual released from a Texas prison is likely to face a period of supervision, referred to as parole. Parole is administered by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. No Texas District Court is involved in the process, as one would find when placed on probation. Parole is decided by an administration. And revocation is decided by an administration, based on rules promulgated by the department.

We are often asked how much jail time someone will receive for a violation of parole? There is no set schedule that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice follows to determine what punishment should match any particular violation. The Department could revoke and send someone back to prison for the remainder of his sentence. On the other hand, the Department could decide that the jail already served is sufficient. The result of a parole hearing depends greatly on the effectiveness of your lawyer.  

Were you served a summons for a parole revocation hearing in Houston or anywhere in the state of Texas? If so, you should know that you need to hire a defense attorney that can fight to prevent the revocation of your parole. You don’t want to go back to prison, so let us help you. Call Chernoff Law to speak with a parole revocation lawyer about your preliminary hearing and revocation hearing.

Common Parole Violations

Some of the most common violations of terms and conditions that may prompt a parole revocation hearing in Texas include:

  • Failing to Maintain Employment or Keep a Job
  • Not Keeping in Touch with Parole Officer
  • Moving without Notifying PO of New Address
  • Not Continuing Education Started in Incarceration
  • Unlawful Possession of a Firearm or Other Prohibited Weapon
  • Having Drugs or a Controlled Substance in UI, Blood Test or in Possession
  • Speaking with Other Individuals on Parole
  • Failing to Appear for Random Drug Testing When Asked to Appear
  • Committing another crime

If you were served a summons to appear at a parole revocation hearing for violating the terms of your parole, you need to contact a parole violation lawyer quickly. You are not in a position to argue your case yourself. If you value your freedom, we urge you to call Chernoff Law to speak with one of our attorneys about your case.

Parole Violations Revocation Process

Parole is usually conditioned on the successful completion of certain programs. In addition, a parolee is required to avoid drugs and stay away from individuals of ill repute. Any criminal charges will likely result in a revocation, especially any felony or violent crime.

In the United States Supreme Court Case Morissey v. Brewer, the Supreme Court mandated that a parolee be afforded due process during a revocation determination. A parolee must be provided a hearing and has the right to an attorney at a revocation hearing.  A special section of the parole board was created in Texas in 1980 to provide for the hearing process.

Every parolee has the right to a hearing. However, some alleged parole violators have a right to a preliminary hearing and a revocation hearing. In each of these hearings, the parolee has the right to counsel. At the hearing, the Department need only prove a violation by a preponderance of the evidence. This process is exhaustively explained in a publication provided by the TDCJ.

At the conclusion of the preliminary hearing, the Hearing Officer makes recommendations to the Parole Board. If probable cause is found, she can recommend revocation with return to prison, halfway house, or an intermediate sanctions facility.

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Parole Revocation Hearing?

Yes, if you don’t want to go back to prison we strongly recommend hiring a professional criminal attorney and NOT representing yourself at the hearing. If it is financially possible, it is important to get an experienced lawyer for both the preliminary and revocation hearings.

At the preliminary hearing, witnesses are likely to be called, including the parole officer. Your rights will to be protected unless a lawyer of your choosing has the opportunity to cross-examine these witnesses.

If you are facing a revocation action in Houston or anywhere across Texas, call Chernoff Law today! Our parole violation lawyers will fight aggressively to defend your freedom, providing persuasive arguments and evidence to the hearing officer and parole board.  Our law firm will fight hard against the parole board so that they can either influence them not to revoke your parole, or convince the board and PO to chose another sanction other than sending you back to prison. Give us a call to schedule a consultation, the clock is ticking!

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