MOTIONS TO REVOKE PROBATION
After being placed on probation
(called "community supervision" in statutes), the
prosecuting attorney may file a "motion to revoke"
probation, alleging that the probationer violated the conditions
Probationers often wrongly
assume that a probation officer can "revoke" them.
Revocation can occur only after a motion has been filed, served
on the probationer, and after the probationer has had an
opportunity to defend himself against the allegations in the
At a motion to revoke hearing,
the government is required to prove to the sentencing judge by a
"preponderance" that the probationer violated the
conditions of his probation.
For example, a probationer who
was required not to commit any crimes gets arrested for
possession of marijuana. The government can win only if it can
prove that it is more likely than not that the probationer
intended or knew he was in possession of a substance he knew to
be marijuana. The burden is the same as a regular lawsuit, like
an automobile accident damages case.
The probationer also has many
rights at a revocation hearing. For example, probationers can
subpoena witnesses and evidence, as well as cross-examine
witnesses against him.
If the government proves the
probationer violated probation conditions, the case is not
necessarily finished; violation of probation does not
automatically equal prison or jail. The judge has many options,
including extending the length of probation, imposing an
additional fine, requiring counseling, boot camp, and requiring
the probationer to submit to drug or alcohol treatment programs.
At its most basic level, most
probations are somewhat like contracts between the judge and the
probationer. The judge agrees not to imprison the
probationer for as long as the probationer follows all of the
judge's rules. Conditions of probation vary
greatly and can even include significant jail time.
Certain technical defenses
exist that could prevent revocation, even when violations have
This description is not meant
to make probationers comfortable when a motion to revoke is
filed against them, but it is important that the probationer not
lose hope. A qualified
attorney may very well be able to provide valuable
are for people 21 years or older, do not involve enhancements,
are not exclusive, and are limited to Texas.
**This page is for
informational purposes ONLY and must not be relied upon as legal
advice because it is NOT a substitute for the advice of a qualified
attorney, nor does it establish an attorney-client
Not certified by the Texas
Board of Legal Specialization.