What Will Your Probation Be Like?


What is probation like in Texas? It’s about the same throughout the state. Learn what to expect in this post.

Say you’ve finally been sentenced for your crime. Instead of spending time in jail, you got time on probation.

Texas statutes control probation conditions, so probation works fairly similar throughout the state. However, some jurisdictions enforce the rules of probation more strictly than others.

Here’s a basic idea of what you can expect in Dallas and Collin counties:

First, understand probation includes things you must do and cannot do. You’ll get a written list of your probation conditions the moment you go on probation.

If you’re charged with a misdemeanor, you’ll go on probation the same time you either plead “guilty” or “no contest” to charges. If you’re charged with a felony, you may actually get your probation sentence at a date later than your hearing. The delay in time gives the probation department the time to interview you, do a drug test, prepare a report, and make any special recommendations regarding probation conditions they think you should have.

Expect Some of These Specific Conditions During Your Probation Period

You will have to report to a probation officer (PO). There will be a specific number of times you have to report to your PO each month.

You may have to do this weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. Initially, you report in person. If you have finished 1/3 of your probation, completed all conditions, and do so with none or few problems, you may be eligible for early release from probation. You can also request early release through your probation officer, your attorney, or the judge. Alternatively, you may be able to report to get unsupervised probation, or report to probation by mail.

Regardless of the type of probation you serve, you will have to pay monthly fees to be on probation. The State of Texas views probation as a privilege, so they make you pay a monthly fee for it. In most cases, you’ll pay at least $25 per month, and your monthly payment can increase to $60 or more.

You may also have to pay fees for:

  • Restitution (Example: You’re convicted of a DWI and emergency personnel had to come to the scene of the accident you caused. You may be required to pay restitution to cover the cost of their services).
  • Drug testing
  • Other fees as assessed

And regardless of the crime you commit, you are not allowed to be under the influence of street drugs. In many, but not all criminal cases, this can include alcohol too.

You also cannot associate with other people who have a criminal history. This can include immediate family members. Some judges set this condition on your probation, while others don’t.

And you may also be subject to these conditions:

  • Submission of a blood, breath, or urine specimen upon request
  • Home or work visits by your probation officer
  • Nightly curfew
  • Being forbidden to go to bars, night clubs, or strip clubs
  • Having the requirement that you request permission before leaving your county
  • Wearing an ankle bracelet
  • Being under house arrest
  • Having to take classes or complete evaluations to submit to your probation officer

And of course, you can’t commit any new offenses (class B misdemeanors and above) if you want to stay on probation. Even minor offenses, like recurrent class C misdemeanors, are enough to get your probation revoked. Class C misdemeanors can include things like theft of property under $50, disorderly conduct, criminal trespass, public intoxication, or a traffic offense that results in a ticket.

Remember, The Point of Probation is to Help You Turn Your Life Around

You can look at probation two ways:

  • You made some mistakes and need to make some changes in life.
  • It’s the criminal justice system’s fault, and you have no responsibility.

How you view your probation is your choice. And hopefully you choose to do the right thing and get your life back on track.