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So you are going to be placed on Adult Probation in Texas? Part 1

Updated on August 9, 2010

What is Adult Probation?

Many people confuse adult probation with parole.  These two sentences may seem similar but are in fact quite different.  Generally speaking, a person is placed on parole after serving a prison sentence and being released from prison before the entire sentence is served.  Because there is still time to serve, the offender is placed on parole, where he is monitored by a parole officer.  Probation differs in that a person is placed on probation rather than sent to jail or prison to serve his sentence.  Although serving some time in jail or even prison may be required, it is a condition of probation, not the sentence for the offense.

When a person is placed on probation, they are serving a sentence, but have some freedoms and are able to live in society.  Probation terms are determined by a judge and can be for very minor offenses such as driving without a license to very major offense such as sexual crimes or even attempted murder or murder.  However, it should be noted that very rarely is a murderer placed on probation. Does it happen?  Yes.  Is it frequent?  No.  

Being placed on probation does not clear the offense off of the criminal history.  The criminal history does not start over every seven to ten years.  Being placed on probation does not mean no one will ever know that you have committed a crime.  When a person is placed on probation, their criminal history will always show the arrest, arrest date and the offense.  It will also show the court case, or cause, number, the county and state the offense occurred in, and the disposition.  This means the criminal history will show if the person is convicted or if the conviction is deferred.  Obviously, if convicted, it will say convicted, and this means that the person was found guilty and the guilt was not set aside.  If, however, the judge decides to defer the guilty plea, then the person is placed on a deferred probation.

Deferred probation simply means that as long as the probationer completes all of the requirements of probation, his criminal history will not show a conviction, and he or she will not have to go to jail or prison.  The arrest, offense and probation sentence will always show on the criminal history, however, the conviction for the offense will show deferred. If the probationer does not complete his probation successfully by violating any condition of his probation, the judge then has the option to convict him and sentence him to the full sentence allowable by statute,or convict him, or adjudicate, and place him back on probation with no credit for previous probation time already served and showing that if the probation is not successfully completed this time, he will go to jail or prison for a set period of time.

Adjudicated probation means the offender was found guilty and the conviction was not set aside.  The offender must complete probation successfully to avoid jail or prison time.  For instance, the offender was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance.  He was found guilty, adjudicated (convicted) and sentenced to prison for five years; however, the prison term was probated for 10 years probation.  This means, if he is successful on probation, he will not go to prison for five years; if he violates his probation, he will go to prison for up to five years


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