In Texas, there are two basic types of supervision, following a plea of guilty or no contest: Deferred Adjudication Supervision and Regular Community Supervision. The differences between the two types of supervision can have a significant affect on the outcome of a case and whether a person is eligible to have his or her criminal record sealed from public view. Please refer to our blog post regarding Deferred Adjudication Supervision for further explanation.
Regular Community Supervision
When a person is placed on regular supervision or “straight probation,” it is normally considered a conviction (albeit, a probated conviction). In this situation an individual typically pleads guilty or “no contest,” then the judge accepts the plea and sentences the person to jail in a misdemeanor case, state jail in a state jail felony case, or prison in a felony case. But the judge suspends imposition of the jail, state jail, or prison sentence and places the person on regular community supervision. If the person successfully completes supervision, the sentence of jail, state jail, or prison is never imposed. However, upon an alleged violation of supervision, the prosecutor in the case may file a “motion to revoke supervision” (a.k.a. motion to revoke probation), which could trigger a court hearing limited to the question of whether the accused violated supervision. As with a motion to adjudicate guilt, the accused does not have the right to a jury trial or proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecution need only show a violation by a preponderance of the evidence. Unlike deferred adjudication supervision, a court normally does not have the entire range of sentencing at the court’s disposal. An accused may only be sentenced up to a predetermined amount of time. Whether the charge is a misdemeanor or felony, the punishment will be “capped” at the amount of time and fine of the original suspended sentence. So, for example, if a person is sentenced to 5 years imprisonment, suspended and “probated,” for a third degree felony (which has a sentencing range of 2-10 years imprisonment), the potential sentence in a motion to revoke community supervision is no more than 5 years imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). As mentioned previously, a violation of third degree felony deferred adjudication supervision may result in a sentence of 2-10 years.
Having a predetermined, capped sentence in the event of revocation is one of the primary advantages of regular supervision over deferred adjudication supervision. However, if keeping a conviction off of your record and possibly having your records sealed after successful completion of supervision are important, deferred adjudication, if available, may be the better outcome. Needless to say, dismissal or acquittal of charges are often the best outcomes of all.
Even upon successful completion of community supervision, a person may be subject to a host of collateral consequences, ranging from driver’s license suspension, to (in certain types of sex crimes) sex offender registration, to loss of right to possess a firearm, to immigration consequences. It is important for an accused to understand all of the potential challenges and pitfalls that go with each type of supervision.
Contact an Expert in Criminal Law
Although this summary of Regular Community Supervision may be useful, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your options. If you or a loved one is charged with a crime in the Greater Houston area and beyond, the attorneys at Scheiner Law Group, P.C., are an excellent choice to navigate you through the criminal process. Our goal is a dismissal or acquittal whenever possible. Call us during normal business hours at 713-783-8998. After hours and on weekends text 713-581-4540.