Dallas Probation Lawyer
What is Probation?
Probation is one alternative to a jail or prison sentence in a criminal case. While most people still call it “probation,” under Texas law the technically correct term is “community supervision.” Dallas Probation Lawyer Mike Howard discusses probation in-depth here. This page discusses issues like modifying terms of probation, early release from probation, and probation violations.
There are two types of probation: deferred adjudication probation and straight (sometimes called “regular”) probation. All probations come with terms and conditions such as reporting to a probation officer, not committing crime, et cetera. Most probations require that you report to a probation officer regularly. Once a month is common, however, more serious cases can require more frequent reporting. Other common probation conditions include abstaining from drugs and alcohol, classes, community service, and paying fees and fines.
Straight (or Regular) Probation
In straight probation, the judge finds you guilty. This means that, while you avoid a jail sentence, straight probation is a conviction. Other than executive clemency, most convictions will not come off your record. For example, you typically cannot get a conviction sealed via nondisclosure or expunged. In straight probation, the judge sets a jail or prison sentence and then probates it and places you on probation for a period of months or years. In most felony cases, the maximum prison sentence for straight probation is 10 years. If the court later revokes your probation due to some violation, that original jail or prison sentence is the maximum sentence the judge can give you.
Deferred Adjudication Probation
There are two major differences between deferred adjudication and straight probation. First, in deferred probation the judge does not find you guilty. Instead, the judge finds that there is enough evidence to find you guilty but defers the finding of guilt and places you on probation. This means deferred probation is not a conviction. Avoiding a conviction and possibly preserving your chances at sealing your record down the line makes deferred probation a great resolution in some cases.
The second difference is a big one. In deferred probation, if the judge later revokes your probation, the full range of punishment is on the table. For example, if you receive deferred probation for a first-degree felony, you could face anywhere between 5-99 years or life in prison. On the other hand, if you received straight probation for that same first-degree felony, the maximum the judge could impose would be 10 years.
Many people don’t adequately understand the differences between straight and deferred probation and what’s at stake. Dallas probation lawyer Mike Howard strives to make sure his clients are fully informed and understand their all their options.
You might be eligible to have some of the restrictions of your probation conditions relaxed. Often if a person shows that they can be trusted by doing well, a Dallas probation lawyer may be able to convince the judge to remove or lessen conditions. This can save you money, time, and hassle.
Establishing a good relationship with your supervising probation officer (sometimes called “field officer”) is helpful. If the probation officer agrees with your request to modify conditions (or at least doesn’t fight against it), it can definitely help. The probation officer’s agreement is not, however, required. Sometimes officers are just plain unreasonable. A good Dallas probation lawyer can put forward the best possible argument – with or without your officer’s support.
Every case is different. If you are looking to have your probation conditions relaxed, Dallas probation modification lawyer Mike Howard may be able to help you. Check out our page on probation modification and early termination of probation to learn more, or contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.
Early Release from Probation
Even better than getting your probation conditions relaxed, you may be able to get released from probation early. Early release or termination of probation is typically an option after you’ve completed one-third of your probation or 2 years (whichever is less). Generally, the judge is much more likely to grant a request for early release from probation if you’ve completed all or most of your probation conditions.
Like with modification, having the support of your probation officer is helpful but not absolutely necessary. An experienced Dallas probation lawyer who has good working relationships with the judge, the prosecutor, and the probation officers assigned to the court can make a big difference. If you are hoping to get off your probation early, contact Dallas probation lawyer Mike Howard today.
Allegations that you’ve violated the terms & conditions of your probation can lead to very serious consequences. Before the court is aware of an alleged violation, your probation officer first must notify the court. This is often referred to as “sending your file to the court.” If addressed early, sometimes a skilled Dallas probation violation lawyer can nip an alleged violation in the bud before it gets in front of the judge.
Once the file is sent to the court it is reviewed by the probation officer(s) assigned to the court. If they deem the violation serious enough, they will draft a motion asking the court to revoke your probation. In deferred probation, this motion is called a motion to proceed with adjudication of guilt. The motion is called a motion to revoke in straight probation.
Handling probation violation allegations involves multiple players: the supervising probation officer, the court probation officer(s), the prosecutor, and the judge. Dallas probation lawyer Mike Howard maintains good working relationships with all players in order to give you the best chance of avoiding a revocation hearing and staying on probation. Often these matters can be negotiated out so you avoid a hearing altogether. When a hearing is necessary, however, Dallas probation lawyer Mike Howard has the experience and courtroom skills to effectively fight for you.
See our page on probation violations for more information.
Choosing the Right Dallas Probation Lawyer
Searching for probation lawyers in Dallas can be overwhelming. After all, you are choosing someone who will hold your life, your future, and your family’s future in their hands. You have to be comfortable with them and feel that you can trust the information and advice they give you. Lawyers are supposed to always work in their clients’ best interests. That shouldn’t just be meaningless talk.
First, talk to several lawyers to get a feel for them and their staff. Do they take the time necessary to get to know you, to listen to what’s important to you, and answer your questions? Second, do they show you that you matter to them as a person and not just as a fee? Third, beware of lawyers who put the hard sell on you, who make big promises. No lawyer should ever make a guarantee about a case. Finally, absolutely avoid a lawyer who doesn’t communicate the scope of the work and their fee clearly in a written contract.
What Makes Mike Howard Different
Many attorneys take advantage of their clients’ ignorance of the criminal justice process. We take the opposite approach. A knowledgeable client is a happy client. Therefore, we provide a wealth of information in the way of articles about criminal offenses, blog posts, and videos for free on our website.
Visit Our YouTube Channel for informational videos and client testimonials.
Visit Our blog for posts on cases, defenses, and criminal law information.
Dallas Probation Lawyer Mike Howard
The Law Office of Mike Howard is your resource for all issues involving probation. Whether you’re trying to modify your probation, get off probation early, or if you’re facing a probation revocation motion, we can help you. Most importantly, Dallas probation lawyer Mike Howard and his team have the experience, skill, and dedication that you need when the stakes are high. We work as a team to do everything we can to fight for you. Moreover, Mr. Howard will give you an honest assessment of your case and explain the law and your legal options.
A Different Kind of Lawyer
We approach our clients differently than a lot of lawyers. Above all, our philosophy is that being a great lawyer is more than getting you a great result. First, our office is centered around you. This means we start by truly listening to you to understand your case and your goals. Further, our team works to provide you a client experience that is as easy and stress-free as possible. Answering your questions and keeping you informed is very important to us. Most importantly, we treat you as a person, not a number. Finally, our goal is to achieve the best possible result for you. If you’re looking for a different kind of lawyer you’ve come to the right place.
Our Case Process
Listen & Understand
Fight for Justice
Awards and Accolades
A Proven Track Record
Dallas Probation Violation Lawyer
J.C. – Sexual Assault of a Child
Our client’s probation officer twice filed motions to revoke on him. Twice we convinced the judge to deny those motions. Our client was able to finish his probation and avoid a conviction instead of being revoked and branded as a convicted felon for life.
P.J. – Improper Relationship Between Educator & Student
Our client’s probation officer and treatment provider had not treated her fairly from the beginning. Before she came to me, they had already tried to get her probation revoked once and were restricting her so much she could hardly be a mother to her own children. We got her conditions relaxed and got the judge to allow her to change treatment providers to a provider of her own choosing.
N.R. – Possession of a Controlled Substance Intent to Deliver
Our client had a drug problem and relapsed. His probation officer tried to send him to prison, but instead we got him drug treatment so he could turn his life around.
R.L. – Three Drug Cases and Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle
This client’s addiction was also his biggest demon. We got his motion to revoke denied and got him drug treatment.
D.V. – Unlawful Restraint
Our client finished all his conditions early. His probation officer still refused to approve his request to get released from probation early. We convinced the judge to release him early.
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Disclaimer: The information here is not legal advice. Reading this site does not create an attorney-client relationship with Dallas probation violation lawyer Mike Howard. If you have a legal problem contact an attorney to get specific legal advice. Nothing on this site is intended to be legal advice or a substitute for legal advice.