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probation

What is the Difference Between Probation and Parole?

By Peek & Toland on November 1, 2019

Both probation and parole allow individuals convicted of a crime to remain living in their communities instead of serving time in jail or prison. Violations of the conditions of probation or parole can both result in individuals being incarcerated. However, probation and parole are distinct programs that may go into effect at different stages of a sentence for a criminal offense.

Probation is an alternative to jail or prison that a court may order as part of a sentence for a criminal conviction. While individuals are on probation, they can remain living at home as long as they comply with specific terms and conditions that the court sets. While conditions of probation differ from one case to the next, some common conditions of probation may include:

  • Working or going to school
  • Submitting to regular drug tests and refraining from drug and alcohol use
  • Following all laws
  • Meeting with a probation officer regularly

Probation can occur in many types of criminal cases, but it is a popular option for individuals who have little or no previous criminal history. Probation also may be available for those who have committed relatively low-level or minor criminal offenses. Once individuals complete probation, they have served their sentences, and they are no longer subject to any oversight by the court.

What is the Difference Between Probation and Parole?

Parole, on the other hand, is early release from prison for individuals who already have served some time in prison following a criminal conviction. When individuals are released on parole, they also are subject to specific terms and conditions that they must follow or risk returning to prison. In most cases, parole is granted to individuals who have exhibited good behavior while in prison. Parole can help relieve congestion at prisons and allow individuals to integrate back into society from prison more gradually.

If you or a family member is facing accusations of drug trafficking or any other criminal charges, we may be able to help. As experienced Texas criminal defense attorneys, we have the knowledge needed to help you navigate through often-complex criminal proceedings. Call us today at (512) 474-4445 and schedule an appointment with one of our criminal defense lawyers and learn how we can assist you.

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HB 374 Establishes New Probation Policies

By Peek & Toland on August 5, 2019

The Texas state legislature recently passed HB 374, which establishes new standards for individuals who are on probation following a conviction for a criminal offense. Probation departments must adopt policies for the scheduling of meetings or visits with individuals who are on probation. In scheduling these appointments, the departments now must consider the work, treatment, and community service schedules of those individuals who are on probation. Furthermore, probation departments now may allow individuals to report to their supervising probation officers via videoconference technology if they determine that in-person meetings or visits are unnecessary.

Legislators enacted this bill to remove some of the barriers that may prevent individuals from successfully completing their terms of probation. A missed visit or appointment with a probation officer could result in the revocation of probation. In turn, revocation often leads to incarceration, which is both more expensive for taxpayers and results in higher recidivism rates. By increasing the success of probationers, legislators hope to reduce revocation rates that lead to higher societal costs in terms of both incarceration and increased crime rates.

HB 374 Establishes New Probation Policies

Additionally, individuals who miss work, treatment sessions, or community service hours also are at risk of revocation, as completion of those activities often are conditions of their probation, as well. Aside from the financial costs of incarceration for society, revocation of probation also has additional costs for the community, in the form of families who experience significant strain due to loss of financial support, disruption of treatment and education, and loss of personal relationships due to incarceration.

Placing individuals on probation allows them to work, go to school, get substance abuse treatment, and perform community service, all of which are positive steps not only for those individuals, but for society in general. Rather than forcing individuals to choose between losing their jobs and facing a probation revocation due to a missed appointment, probation department now must be more flexible in scheduling appointments at times that better meet the needs of these individuals. When you are facing any criminal charges in the state of Texas, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent your interests from the very beginning of your case. Contact Peek & Toland at (512) 474-4445 today and set up an appointment to speak with our legal team.

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Probation Revocation and You

By Peek & Toland on February 4, 2019

When you are charged with a crime, you may enter into a plea agreement that provides you to serve a term of probation. Likewise, if you are found guilty of a crime following a trial, the judge may sentence you to serve time on probation, either instead of or in addition to imprisonment.

Alternatively, the judge may suspend or defer your adjudication until you have completed probation. This often occurs if you are a first-time offender; with deferred adjudication, you will not have a conviction on your record. Plus, for some offenses, after a certain period of time has passed, and you have completed your probation successfully, you may be able to get an order of non-disclosure, which seals your criminal record from public view. This can be an attractive option for some people, which is why they are willing to take the risks involved with deferred adjudication, which can be significant.

Probation Revocation and You

Probation generally has different requirements that you must meet. Some of these requirements might include:

• Undergoing periodic drug or alcohol testing
• Refraining from committing additional crimes
• Reporting to a probation officer on a regular basis
• Completing community service
• Paying restitution or fines

If you fail to meet those requirements, you could have your probation revoked. If you already have been convicted of a crime, meaning that your charges are no longer pending and the case is finished, then the judge can revoke your probation and order you to serve the original jail sentence that you would have received if you had not been placed on probation.

If, however, your adjudication was deferred, the charges against you are still pending. If the judge revokes your probation, you could face any of the potential penalties for the crime in question. Therefore, if the crime with which you are charged can result in a ten-year prison sentence, and your probation is revoked, then you have lost your chance at deferred adjudication. You now will have to either go to trial or enter into a plea agreement. Whatever the case may be, you can face a potential ten-year prison sentence.

The criminal defense lawyers of Peek & Toland have handled the legal defense of countless individuals who are facing criminal charges, including charges relating to the revocation of probation. We are here to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf in order to get the best outcome possible in your case. Call our office today at (512) 474-4445 to set up an appointment with our criminal defense attorneys today.

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