What Happens When You Violate Probation in Texas?

Attorney Trey Porter
Trey Porter

What Happens When You Violate Probation in Texas?

Probation Violation in TexasA person who violates probation in Texas is subject to arrest, incarceration, a revocation of probation, and a jail sentence. This process is called a Motion to Revoke probation (MTR) or a Motion to Enter Adjudication of Guilt in Texas. The ultimate punishment for a probation violation is determined by a judge, who can impose a variety of different conditions as opposed to revocation and jail. For example, a judge can extend the length of supervision, impose additional fines, order alcohol or drug treatment, or mandate house arrest for a period of time. Probation violations result in different outcomes depending on the circumstances. Those facing probation violations in Texas should explore these different scenarios with an experienced Texas probation lawyer.

  • Which type of probation violation is the most common in Texas? A person can violate probation in many different ways, such as missing scheduled probation officer appointments, failing a drug test, or registering a positive alcohol blow on an ignition interlock device. Typically the most egregious probation violation is a new criminal offense. Probationers who commit a crime while on probation are most likely to have their probation revoked.
  • What happens if you have a warrant for probation violation in Texas? A person with a probation violation warrant in Texas is subject to immediate arrest and may not be entitled to bail, depending on the circumstances. Additionally, individuals are very likely to be arrested if arriving to meet with a probation officer with an active warrant.


Yes, a person can bail out of jail on a probation violation if they are on Deferred Adjudication probation. However, a person on regular community supervision probation is not entitled to bail and is at the discretion of the judge in that case. A judge can allow an individual to bond out pending further action or require an individual to sit in jail until a court hearing in these circumstances.

  • How long can you go to jail for violating probation in Texas? The maximum jail sentence for a misdemeanor probation violation is one year, though the exact terms depend on the level offense, the underlying sentence, and the type of probation. For example, a defendant sentenced to 3 months jail probated for 1 year is subject to a maximum 3 months jail upon revocation, where a person on Deferred Adjudication for a class B misdemeanor crime is subject to the entire range of jail for that level offense, which is up to 6 months. The same dynamic holds true for felony probation violations except those involve lengthier prison sentences.
  • What violation causes revocation of probation the most? A new criminal offense is one of the most frequent reasons why probation is revoked in Texas. Defendants placed on probation in Texas agree to refrain from further criminal infractions while on supervision. Texas judges generally show little sympathy toward repeat offenders including those on probation.


Unsupervised misdemeanor probation is generally the least restrictive form of probation though it is generally only available in limited circumstances on minor offenses. Courts can impose different lengths of probation on any given case, from 3 months, up to 2 years on a misdemeanor offense, for example.

  • What is the strictest form of probation in Texas? Felony probation typically carries the most restrictive terms and conditions in Texas. Those on felony probation are subject to unannounced home visits, random and frequent drug testing, and thousands of dollars in fines and court costs.
  • Do probation warrants expire in Texas? Probation warrants never automatically expire in Texas. However, a judge can recall a warrant in some circumstances and on motion by the prosecution or defense upon good cause.


Probation rules in Texas typically require a defendant to abstain from drugs and alcohol, observe curfew, maintain gainful employment, reside within the county, pay restitution, avoid bars and persons of ill repute, and not break any state or federal laws. Ultimately, the rules of probation vary throughout the state and among offenses but generally require community service, meeting with probation officers, and substance abuse rehabilitation. Domestic violence cases usually require an anger management class geared toward rehabilitation as well. Individuals on probation in Texas should carefully review their conditions to ensure compliance with all requirements and to avoid a Motion to Revoke (MTR).

  • How do I report a probation violation in Texas? Probation frequently requires defendants to report any violation to their supervising officers within a short period of time. In such circumstances, Texas Defendants should call their probation officers, leave a voicemail where appropriate, and follow up with an email to document their conduct. Those who are unsure about this protocol should consult an experienced Texas probation violation lawyer to assess their situation.
  • Can a probation violation be dismissed Texas? Yes, a Texas Motion to Revoke (MTR) probation can be dismissed upon evidence of compliance, proof of mistake, or in the interests of justice in some circumstances. An MTR dismissal requires a dynamic legal and mitigation strategy, however, as Texas prosecutors are known to aggressively approach probation violations.


The two types of probation in Texas are Deferred Adjudication probation and regular probation. The difference between these two is that successful completion of Deferred Adjudication results in a dismissal and while regular probation carries a conviction. Nevertheless, many Deferred Adjudication cases and certain first-time misdemeanor probation cases can be publicly sealed by nondisclosure in Texas.

  • What happens if you violate misdemeanor probation in Texas? A misdemeanor probation violation can result in the filing of a Motion to Revoke probation (MTR), an arrest warrant, and incarceration until a court hearing where the judge decides the ultimate penalty. An experienced probation lawyer can arrange for bail, and even withdrawal of an MTR in some cases.
  • What happens if you get a misdemeanor while on probation in Texas? Picking up a new misdemeanor charge while on probation is a violation which can result in a probation revocation and a lengthy jail sentence. A new criminal offense is perhaps the most common cause for probation revocation in Texas.


Felony Probation has strict rules and conditions in Texas. Those on felony probation are subject to frequent drug testing, curfew, and random home visits. Felony probation terms are generally lengthier than misdemeanor terms and carry greater fines. Texans on felony probation should carefully review their conditions to ensure compliance.

  • What happens if probation is revoked in Texas? A probation revocation commonly, but not always, leads to jail time. The length of the jail sentence depends on the terms of the original sentence and the type of probation involved. For example, a person sentenced to a 3 month jail sentence probated for 1 year is subject to those 3 months upon revocation. Similarly, a person on a 1 year Deferred Adjudication probation for a class B misdemeanor is subject to the corresponding punishment range of 6 months jail upon revocation.
  • What happens if you fail a drug test for deferred probation in Texas? A failed drug test can lead to the filing of a Motion to Enter Adjudication of Guilt, an arrest warrant, a criminal conviction, and a probation revocation for those on Deferred Adjudication in Texas. Individuals in this situation are subject to the entire range of punishment for that level offense. For example, a Defendant on Deferred Adjudication for a class A misdemeanor is subject to revocation for up to a one year jail sentence upon a failed drug test.


Yes, Texas probation involves strict terms and conditions. Individuals on probation in Texas must comply with all requirements or risk a Motion to Revoke probation, an arrest warrant, and a jail sentence.

  • What might a judge do if he or she determines that a probation violation has occurred? A judge can leverage different punishments depending on the nature and severity of a probation violation. A judge can impose additional community service hours, require intensive substance abuse treatment, levy additional fines, or enter a final criminal conviction for those on Deferred Adjudication. Judges have several options in these situations but they can ultimately revoke a Defendant’s probation and sentence them to jail.
  • What is the most frequent reason that revocation proceedings are initiated? Probation revocation proceedings frequently arise due to missed or positive drug tests, or positive alcohol readings for those on DWI probation. Individuals facing a probation revocation should consult an experienced Texas probation lawyer to immediately build a defense.


Yes a person on probation in Texas can travel but they will need permission from their probation officer or the judge. This can be accomplished by retaining an attorney to file the appropriate motions with the court. An attorney can also secure a standing travel order for those who consistently travel for work. A person who travels outside of their home county without permission is subject to a probation violation and an MTR.

  • What is informal probation in Texas? In Texas, he term “informal probation” can refer to unsupervised probation which is only available on certain low-level misdemeanors, or Deferred Disposition in some circumstances. In certain contexts, this term is also used to colloquially describe Pretrial Diversion or specialty court programs like Veterans Treatment Courts.
  • Is probation better than incarceration? Probation is an alternative to incarceration that will appeal to those individuals who can comply with probation conditions. Those who expect difficulty completing probation requirements may prefer a short term of incarceration to a lengthy probation period. These dynamics should be explored in greater detail with an experienced Texas criminal defense lawyer.


Texas probation entails compliance with specific conditions. Some individuals will naturally experience problems completing probation requirements and should voice any such concerns with their probation officer or attorney.

  • How do I get off probation early in Texas? A person can get off probation early in Texas by filing a Motion for Early Termination of Probation. Typically, a person must complete all probation requirements and pay all fines before a judge will consider granting an early termination. Some judges also require a person to complete half of the supervisory term. Early termination is not available for DWI probation or wherever prohibited as part of a plea bargain.
  • How much is probation a month in Texas? Monthly Probation supervisory fees in Texas are determined by the judge on a case-by-case basis but are generally between $45 to $65 a month. These fees are in addition to monthly fines and court costs for those individuals on a monthly payment schedule.


The maximum probation length for a misdemeanor in Texas is 2 years. Plea bargain negotiations often determine the probation period for Texas misdemeanors. Texas judges also determine the length of probation at sentencing by factoring the nature of the offense and the characteristics of the Defendant.

  • Will I go to jail for a class A misdemeanor first offense in Texas? A first-offense class A misdemeanor will usually result in probation except for some egregious cases. However, all class A misdemeanors are technically subject to jail time and therefore merit careful consideration and the assistance of experienced defense counsel.
  • Can I get my probation reinstated in Texas? Yes, an experienced MTR defense can secure a denial and a withdrawal of a Motion to Revoke probation. Additionally, defendants who have had their probation revoked can petition the court for a reconsideration of their case and reinstatement of their probation. These are complex legal undertakings that should be handled by experienced legal professionals.


Yes, a person can bond out on an MTR if they are on Deferred Adjudication. However, individuals on regular probation are not entitled to bond out as bail is at the judgment of the court in these MTR’s. An individual is less likely to receive bond if they have committed crimes of violence, such as Assault, Robbery, Aggravated Sexual Assault, Murder, and offenses of domestic violence.

  • What drugs are tested for on probation in Texas? Texas probation tests for all controlled substances and drugs including prescription medication, and THC from substances including CBD, Delta-8, Delta-9, and Delta-10. These substances may not be illegal in Texas but can still trigger a probation violation and an MTR.
  • What is the Statute of Limitation on a probation violation in Texas? There is no Statute of Limitation for a probation violation in Texas.


The length of Deferred Adjudication probation varies across Texas and among offenses. The maximum length for Deferred Adjudication is 2 years for a misdemeanor, and 10 years for felonies.

  • What happens on your first probation violation in Texas? Even a first violation can result in an MTR and a revocation of probation. As such, all violations should be treated seriously and with the assistance of an experienced probation lawyer in Texas.
  • Who can revoke your probation in Texas? A judge can revoke probation in Texas upon evidence of a violation that meets the requisite burden of proof. Per the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, probation violations are not heard by a jury but are instead left to the judge’s verdict only.


Yes, most probation requirements mandate a person to be gainfully employed, actively seeking work, or enrolled as a student.

  • Can probation be reduced in Texas? Yes, probation length can be reduced at the plea bargaining phase or at sentencing by the court with an effective mitigation defense. Additionally, individuals who have completed all their probation requirements may file a Motion for Early Termination of Probation, which is a request to be released from probation prior to its expiration.
  • What happens if you skip out on probation in Texas? Individuals who neglect their probation requirements and fail to report are subject to a Motion to Revoke Probation (MTR), an arrest warrant, and a lengthy jail sentence. Defendants in Texas should carefully review their probation conditions including their reporting requirements to ensure compliance.


A person seeking to get their probation terminated early in Texas should file a Motion for Early Termination of Probation. These normally require the completion of all probation conditions and the payment of all fines as a prerequisite. Some judges require a person to complete at least half of their supervisory term as well. Additionally, some probation cases are ineligible for early termination including DWI convictions.

  • Can you go out of state while on probation in Texas? Yes, a person can leave the state while on probation in Texas if they secure permission from their probation officer or their judge. Leaving Texas without permission can result in a revocation of probation.
  • Can a first time felon get probation Texas? Yes, many first-time felons are eligible for probation in Texas. However, some serious felony offenses, like Murder, are ineligible for probation in most circumstances.


Probation ends at the expiration of the probation term when a person is finally discharged by the court and their probation officer. A person should request and maintain discharge documents for their records.

  • Can I drink on probation Texas? No, drinking alcohol is a common probation prohibition in Texas. Probationers are subject to alcohol and controlled substance testing. Individuals who drink alcohol are subject to a probation revocation and a jail sentence.
  • What is the most common form of probation supervision? People on probation in Texas are most commonly supervised by monthly in-person visits with a probation officer. Probation can also make unannounced home visits though this occurs more commonly in serious felony cases.


Any probation violation in Texas can result in the filing of a Motion to Revoke Probation, the issuance of an arrest warrant, and a lengthy jail sentence. A probationer who has violated a probation condition should consult a Texas probation lawyer as soon as practicable so as to preserve important legal defenses.

  • Can you leave the county on probation in Texas? Yes, a person can leave their home county while on probation with the permission of the judge or their probation officer. Leaving the county without permission is otherwise a probation violation that can lead to a revocation and a jail sentence.
  • Can you be on parole and probation at the same time in Texas? Yes, in some circumstances a person can be on both parole and probation at the same time. However, probation supervision and parole supervision are distinct and require reporting to different offices.


Unsatisfactory Termination of Probation is when a person is discharged from probation without having successfully completed all requirements or complied with all conditions. In these circumstances, a person is not revoked, but done with probation with a judicial finding that their participation was not satisfactory. This finding can be later used to assess whether to grant this defendant probation on any subsequent cases.

  • What’s the earliest you can get off probation? A person must generally serve half the term of their probation and complete all their requirements before a judge will consider a Motion for Early Termination of Probation in Texas. However, some judges will consider early termination at much shorter terms in certain cases.
  • Can you move out of Texas while on probation? Yes, a probationer can move out of Texas if they obtain permission from the judge or their probation officer. Probation terms longer than one year can transfer to another state. Shorter probation terms will generally not transfer but many judges will allow an individual to report by mail or virtually in certain minor cases.


No, a person does not automatically go to jail for violating probation. Probationers in Texas have the opportunity to be heard in court and negate alleged violations. Even where a violation is proven, a judge has discretion to impose alternate punishments, like drug and alcohol addiction counseling, as opposed to revocation and jail time. Those facing revocation should consult an experienced Texas probation lawyer to begin building a defense.

  • How much jail time do you get for violating probation in Texas? Jail time in probation revocation is determined by the level of the offense, the terms of the original sentence, and the type of probation involved. For example, a person sentenced to 6 months jail probated for 1 year on a class A misdemeanor is subject to 6 months jail upon a revocation. However, a person on Deferred Adjudication for the same level offense is subject to that offense’s maximum jail sentence of 1 year upon revocation. Felony probation violations operate similarly except they are subject to lengthier prison sentences.
  • How long does it take to issue a warrant for probation violation in Texas? It can take a few hours to several days for a warrant to issue pursuant to a probation violation in Texas.


Probation violation warrants are permanent and effective until a person is arrested and booked, or the warrant itself is withdrawn by a judge or prosecutor. Individuals with probation warrants are subject to immediate arrest.


Trey Porter Law is one of the highest and best rated criminal defense firms in Texas. Recipients of statewide and national recognition, the advocates at TPL know how to fight and win for their clients. With over 40 years of combined experience in every facet of criminal defense, TPL has delivered successful outcomes for thousands of Texans facing intoxication and criminal charges. From students to teachers, veterans to first responders, and professionals across varied industries, the firm brings a results-oriented & client-focused approach to solving complex problems. Learn more.

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Attorney Trey Porter

Trey Porter

Trey Porter is one of the highest-rated criminal defense attorneys in Texas. Nationally recognized, Mr. Porter relentlessly fights to protect and assert his clients’ constitutional rights in and out of courtrooms across the state.


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