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Is Community Supervision the Same as Probation?

If you’re a resident of Texas, you may have heard the term “community supervision” before. Is it the same as probation? Yes, as a matter of fact it is. In the past, the term was probation; however, nowadays the term used in Texas is community supervision. So, same meaning, different word.

Like probation in other states, when someone in Texas is granted community supervision, it means that instead of spending time in jail, he or she is supervised in the community. However, community supervision comes with many strings attached.

When a defendant is placed on community supervision, he or she must agree to follow a set of terms and conditions set by the court. If the offender violates any of these conditions, they could be arrested and sentenced to jail depending on the facts of the case.

How Long Does Community Supervision Last?

Generally, community supervision can last up to 10 years for a felony case, and up to two years for a misdemeanor case. But, a judge can extend it to three years for a misdemeanor case if he or she pleases. If the felony involved indecency with a child, sexual assault, or aggravated sexual assault, the judge can extend the community supervision up to an additional 10 years.

Basic conditions of community supervision:

  • Do not violate any state or federal laws.
  • Follow the directions for reporting to the supervision officer.
  • Support one’s children.
  • Maintain suitable employment.
  • Do not leave a specified area (e.g. the county or state).
  • Pay victim restitution (where applicable).
  • Pay court-ordered fines.

Qualifying for Community Supervision

Most people have no desire to go to jail or prison, so it’s understandable why defendants would jump at the chance to be supervised in the community instead of behind bars. While community supervision is the preferred alternative over incarceration, not everybody will qualify. Eligibility for community supervision depends on the following factors:

  • The nature of the offense,
  • If a deadly weapon was involved,
  • If the defendant has any prior felony convictions,
  • If the defendant has been on community supervision before,
  • Whether a judge or jury sentenced the defendant, and
  • If the defendant receives a prison sentence of 10 or more years.

Note: Nowadays, all defendants who are placed on community supervision in Texas are required to provide a DNA sample to authorities.

We hope the above information clears up a few things for you. If you’re facing criminal charges in Plano or Dallas, contact our firm to work with a high-caliber defense team!