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What Is a Probation Violation and What Happens When One Occurs?


Potential outcomes of criminal justice cases vary greatly, depending on the circumstances and what happens during the court process. For some defendants, there is an order for probation issued, which means that the person won’t have to spend time in prison. Instead, they are allowed to remain in the community, but are supervised by a probation officer.

Probation comes with specific requirements and special conditions that must be followed all the time. The person who is being monitored can face legal troubles if they violate any of the terms of the program, so it is imperative that they know what they are supposed to do and what they must avoid.

What are some of the requirements of probation?

The terms of probation are outlined to the probationer in their first meeting with the Texas Community Supervision and Corrections Department. While many of the terms are consistent, there are some that are considered on a case-by-case basis depending on the circumstances and the probationer’s life. Some of the more common points include:

  • Stay out of legal trouble
  • Meet with the probation officer when required
  • Reside in an approved location
  • Hold down a job
  • Avoid associating with felons
  • Go to court dates as ordered
  • Remain within a specific geographic location unless permission is given to travel
  • Say no to drugs and alcohol (some probationers do have to undergo drug tests)

What financial responsibilities do probationers have?

In order to remain compliant with probation, the probationer has to pay all fines, fees and restitution that are ordered by the court. These are outlined in the sentence and should be paid according to the schedule that is included in the court’s documentation. One thing to remember is that if you have to pay restitution, you must pay that to your probation officer. It is then given to the victim named on the court order or divided among multiple defendants named on the order.

What happens if a person violates probation?

If you violate your probation terms, your probation officer will decide what steps to take. Some violations might be handled in-house with increased reporting requirements or something similar. Others will go before the court for a probation violation charge. This matter is handled in a bench trial, which means the judge decides your fate, and there is no jury. Understanding the terms of probation and penalties you face for violating them can help you immensely.