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Understanding Probation Under Texas Criminal Law

Jail time isn't the only option a defendant can receive under Texas Criminal Law. A defendant may also receive probation, or as it is called in Texas, community supervision, for up to a ten year period. The term community supervision is a blanket term that encompasses two variations of this punishment that an individual standing as a defendant in a criminal trial should completely understand. The two variations are referred to as Deferred Adjudication and Regular Community Supervision.

These two variations have differences that are important enough that you should take the time to understand the differences of each before even considering either as a solution to your predicament. Community Supervision has various terms that are set pending on what charges the defendant has against them. If the charge is a misdemeanor, the resulting sentence can be as long as two years; however as a felony the sentence could be as long as ten years. By accepting community supervision you do not necessarily avoid jail time completely, as a period of between 30 days and 180 days can be ordered by the judge depending on your charge.

When under community supervision, there are several requirements that are imposed on the individual. These requirements many include drug testing, employment review, and community service. If any of these requirements are not met, it is within the power of the court to revoke the community supervision. The first variation, known as Deferred Adjudication, leaves the defendant without a conviction on their record if they fully complete all terms of their community supervision. This is usually a punishment offered specifically to first time offenders, but this punishment is no longer available once the trial has begun as a jury does not have the power to grant it. As stated before, the community supervision may be revoked if the terms are not properly completed.

If this occurs, the defendant may be sentenced to jail time up to the maximum allowed by the statutory range, with no consideration given to the time spent under their Deferred Adjudication. While the conviction is removed from your record at the completion of a Deferred Adjudication, it does not remove all consequences from the punishment under Texas law. The punishment will be exposed in situations involving searching for employment, purchasing a firearm, or submitting a request for a professional state license. It is possible to have the Deferred Adjudication seal or expunged to ease these situations. The second variation, Regular Community Supervision, does leave a conviction on the record of those who receive this method as a punishment. Where Deferred Adjudication could not be offered during a trial, Regular Community Supervision is a punishment issued by a trial jury.

The punishment issued if a Regular Community Supervision is revoked will often be less than the maximum allowed by the statutory range. Unlike Deferred Adjudication, sealing or expunging the punishment from your record is not possible as it is a conviction. It is possible to have the Regular Community Supervision set-aside or dismissed once one third of the term has been completed, thus removing the felony charge from your record. These actions are not as powerful as having something expunged or sealed from your record, it will end the term of your Regular Community Supervision. The common myth that by simply finishing your community supervision term, your record will stay clean is unfortunately untrue in Texas. While this article may have provided you with insight into understanding the charges against you, it would be wise to speak with a Texas Criminal Lawyer to review all of your specific options.

Each individual case has differences that can not be generalized, so the results of these decisions may alter your life more than you give it credit for.

If you're presented with the choices explained above, it is recommended that you call either a Houston Criminal Attorney or a Houston DWI Lawyer depending on what you are being charged with.

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