Criminal domestic violence charges do not automatically mean jail time. In many cases, particularly with first-time offenders, a judge will sentence a defendant to probation. But probation–or community supervision, as it is known in Texas–carries with it a number of conditions. And if you do not strictly follow all of these conditions, you risk ending up back in court and, ultimately, heading to prison.
Defendant Receives 10-Year Sentence After Violating Terms of “Zero Tolerance” Probation
Take this recent case from Kleberg County, Mejia v. State. In June 2017, the defendant in this case pleaded guilty to a second domestic violence offense, a felony charge. The court placed the defendant on 4 years of “deferred adjudication community supervision.” Among other conditions, the court required the defendant to complete a Batterers’ Intervention Prevention Program (BIPP).
The defendant never completed the program, however, and just over a year later, prosecutors moved to formally adjudicate guilt. The court found the defendant guilty but allowed him to remain on probation. But the judge also cautioned the defendant there would be “zero tolerance” for any further violations.
About two months later, prosecutors returned to court, alleging the defendant was still violating the terms of his probation and had, in fact, committed “new offenses.” The defendant told the court he was unable to pay for the required classes and was now homeless. The judge had no sympathy, however, and sentenced the defendant to 10 years in prison.
On appeal, the defendant argued the addition of a “zero tolerance” condition to his probation violated his due process rights. But the appeals court noted the defendant himself had “agreed” to this condition at the hearing to adjudicate his guilt. Indeed, the defendant had “signed a form affirming he understood and agreed to the addition of the zero-tolerance condition, and the trial court admonished him about the condition during the hearing.” The defendant therefore could not complain the zero-tolerance condition was unfair or illegal.
Furthermore, although the prosecution presented evidence of multiple probation violations, the state only needed to prove a single violation occurred to revoke the defendant’s probation. Here, there was sufficient evidence of multiple violations, including the defendant’s failure to pay court fees.
Speak with a Houston Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer Today
It is common for Texas courts to require domestic defendants to attend BIPP or “anger management” classes as a condition of community supervision. Such programs typically require at least 36 hours of group sessions over a period of 18 weeks. As suggested by the case above, the defendant is required to pay for the cost of attending and completing such programs.
This is just one thing you may need to think about if you are facing criminal charges arising from domestic violence. An experienced criminal defense attorney can provide you with more specific advice regarding your particular case. If you need representation or advice in connection with any criminal matter, contact the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates in Houston, Galveston or League City today to schedule a consultation. Call (281) 280-0100.