When Can A Texas Judge Revoke Your Parole?
In Texas, what people commonly refer to as “probation” is actually called “community supervision.” It basically means that instead of sending a person convicted of a criminal offense to prison, they are allowed to remain in the community under certain conditions imposed by the court. The person subject to community supervision must strictly follow these conditions. Any failure to comply, even if the defendant had a good reason, can lead to the revocation of community supervision.
Defendant in Theft Case Sent to Prison for Six Years Over Missed Class
A recent decision from the Texas First District Court of Appeals, Singleton v. State, demonstrates just how harsh the system can be for defendants. The defendant in this case was previously charged with theft. He agreed to plead guilty in exchange for five years of community supervision. The plea agreement also required the defendant to complete an “antitheft course” and make $65,000 in restitution to his victim, to be paid in monthly installments of $1,100.
Sometime later, prosecutors moved to revoke community supervision. The state alleged the defendant had missed some of his monthly restitution payments and failed to attend his required antitheft class. Before the trial court, the defendant said he was not trying to avoid his restitution obligations; he simply lacked the financial ability to pay them. As for missing the class, he admitted to that as well, citing his busy schedule with work and family.
The trial judge offered no sympathy and revoked the defendant’s community supervision, sentencing him to six years in prison. On appeal, the First District said the trial court did not abuse its discretion. Notably, the appellate court said that even if the trial judge failed to properly consider the defendant’s inability to pay restitution, that was irrelevant as he admitted to missing the antitheft class.
While this might sound like a technicality, the First District made it clear that under Texas law, “Only one sufficient ground is necessary to support a trial court’s decision to revoke community supervision.” In this case, the defendant admitted to missing his required class–something that had nothing to do with his inability to pay restitution, which was the main thrust of his appeal. As such, missing that class would now cost the defendant six years of his life in prison.
Contact Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer Keith B. French Today
A key lesson from cases like this is that you do not treat community supervision as “getting away with” a criminal act. The reality is that even though you may not be physically imprisoned, the state can still control many aspects of your life on parole. And even a seemingly minor violation of the terms and conditions of your release can send you away for many years.
So if you are facing charges and need legal advice before deciding whether to accept a plea offer or go to trial, it is imperative that you seek out timely legal advice from an experienced Pearland criminal defense attorney. Contact Keith B. French Law, PLLC, today to schedule a consultation.