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So you are going to be placed on Adult Probation in Texas? Part 2

Updated on August 10, 2010

What does a probationer have to do?

Because an offender on probation is actually serving a sentence, even if it is deferred, he must report to a probation officer. The probationer will have to report in person a specified number of times each month;this can range from weekly, bi-weekly to monthly. Sometimes, if the probationer has been doing well, has had no violations and has completed most of their probation term, he may be allowed to report by mail for a month or two and report in person every 60 to 90 days.

Another standard requirement while on probation is payment of fees to the court such as fines, court costs and attorney's fees.  In addition to these fees, probationers must also pay a monthly probation fee, possible restitution, drug testing fees and any other fees that are applicable.  Yes, that's right...probationers pay for the privilege of being on probation each month.  The monthly probation fee can be a minimum of $25 (sometimes, in very special and unusual circumstances the monthly fee may be reduced even further), to as much as $60 or more.  Restitution may be required if there is a victim in the case, or if the city, county or state has incurred any charges while working the case.  For instance, if the probationer received a Driving While Intoxicated charge, and was also involved in an accident, he can be charged the expense of emergency personnel working the accident scene.  Or, if a probationer was arrested on a drug possession charge and the Department of Public Safety had to test the substance to verify what it is, the probation will pay for the lab testing.

Also while on probation, the probationer is prohibited from using illicit drugs and often from consuming alcoholic beverages, even if the offense is not alcohol or drug related.  The probationer will also be subject to drug testing (which he pays for) at any time while on probation.  The probationer will also be prohibited in most cases from associating with anyone else that has a criminal history or is currently on probation or parole.  Some judges make exceptions for immediate family members, some do not.

A probationer will also be required to refrain from committing a new offense.  Even a class C misdemeanor can become troublesome if it is a recurring situation.  Obviously, more serious offenses can result in a warrant and a motion to revoke your probation, which could mean jail and or prison time.

While on probation, you may be subject to random searches of your person, vehicle, personal property or home.  You may be required to submit to a specimen (breath, blood, or urine) if asked to do so by law enforcement.  You may also be visited at home or work by your probation officer and you may have a curfew.  You may also be forbidden from going to certain businesses such as bars, night clubs or strip clubs and may be required to ask for permission before leaving your county of residency.  Or, worse, you may be required to wear an ankle bracelet or be on house arrest.

Finally, there are classes that the court can require you to take within a specified time frame; the court can also require you to get evaluations completed and provide a completed evaluation to your probation officer within a specified time frame.

 Being on probation can be easy and can be the motivating factor that some people need to turn their lives around.  Or it can be a fast ticket to being locked up.  The choice is really the probationers.


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