5 Tips for Meeting Your Community Supervision Requirements
Community supervision (i.e. probation) seems like a break, at least initially. In lieu of jail time, you are permitted to go back to your normal life, albeit under close watch. For those facing criminal charges, community supervision may seem highly desirable. But don’t be fooled. The requirements you must meet to successfully comply with and complete your community supervision are likely to be strict. So, if you think you’re getting off easy, think again. Meeting those requirements will take sacrifices of your time, money, privacy and peace of mind. To help you meet those requirements, read through these five tips for those on community supervision in Texas.
Make Your Probation Officer’s Job Easier
You will be required to check in with your probation officer periodically (generally once per month). Always bear in mind that your probation officer is dealing with a subset of the population that does not complete tasks timely, and is probably not easy to interact with. You can make your life and your probation officer’s life far easier by not skylining yourself. How is that accomplished? Make his or her job easier by being on time, doing what you’re told to do and being polite. And don’t even think about complaining about your sentence or the requirements of your community supervision. Finally, complete all of your classes and community service early. You have to do them anyway, and they don’t get any easier with time. If you knock these items out early, you’ll soon find yourself on your probation officer’s pay no mind list because they are used to babysitting others on getting these items completed. Speak with a criminal defense attorney about such concerns. Your probation officer is just a person with a job to do. The easier you make it for them to supervise you, the less likely he or she will bring any violations to the attention of the judge. Similarly, you’ll need a favorable report from your officer to have your community supervision reduced or terminated early.
Never Violate the Terms of Your Community Supervision
If you don’t understand them or don’t agree with them, speak with an attorney. But whatever you do, don’t commit a violation. If you are required to check in monthly with your officer, do it. If you are required to pass drug tests, make sure you can. If you have to get permission to travel outside of the county or state, get permission in writing! If you violate any requirements, depending on the nature of the violation, your officer can bring it to the attention of the judge who can then revoke your community supervision and impose the full sentence. Community supervision is much higher stakes than a pending case because the Judge already has enough evidence to sentence you to jail or prison; you really can’t afford to make a mistake.
Pay Fines and Fees on Time
Community supervision is expensive. You’ll have to pay monthly supervision fees, court fines, payments to CrimeStoppers and other costs. Pay them on time and as soon as you can. If you can’t pay in full, tell your probation officer. Many people run into trouble when they can’t pay their fines and fees, which are sometimes exorbitant. They are an unfortunate—yet often unavoidable—component of community supervision. However, the one condition of community supervision that you have a defense for not doing is paying fines or fees. That doesn’t mean that you don’t have to pay them, it just means that if a judge believes you did not have the ability to pay, they will not send you to jail or prison. There is not a similar statutory defense for all the other conditions of community supervision.
Complete Community Supervision Requirements Early
You can make a good impression—and make your officer’s job easier—if you complete the requirements of your community supervision early. If you are required to complete a certain number of hours of community service each month, complete them early. If you have to take classes, sign up for them as soon as you can. The less your officer has to do to supervise you, the better off you’ll be. Remember no skylining! If your officer is constantly having to follow up with you due to missed deadlines and unfulfilled requirements, expect no leniency.
Apply for Early Release
Qualified probationers may file a motion to have their community supervision terminated early. You must serve one-third of your supervision period or two years, whichever is sooner, to even be considered. Serving at least one-half, however, is recommended. Early release is entirely discretionary. The judge generally won’t grant your request if you have any violations, haven’t fulfilled the requirements of your community supervision or otherwise made a poor impression on your officer.
One Last Suggestion…
This probably doesn’t qualify as a tip, but the best thing you can do is to avoid community supervision altogether. If you are still in a position to do so, consult with an experienced Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney with a good track record of dismissals. Community supervision is rarely your best option. Work closely with a criminal defense attorney to learn about what your options are and how you can avoid the immense burden of community supervision.
If you’re facing criminal charges in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action so you can move on with your life. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email email@example.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.