Daniel Peugh is a former Chief Prosecutor for the Denton County Criminal District Attorney’s Office. He has an insider’s knowledge of local Judges, Prosecutors, and Probation Officers. At The Peugh Law Firm we try cases and we get jury verdicts. Our ability to make our case before judges and juries benefits all of our clients at every level of representation. Most of our clients do not go to trial. Still, the plea bargain offers our clients receive are based in large part on what the prosecutors know we can do if the case goes to trial.

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Probation Violations

Motions to Adjudicate Guilt
If you entered a plea and were placed on deferred adjudication probation any alleged violations of that probation will be contained in a Motion to Adjudicate Guilt (MTAG). Examples of common probation violations are failure to report to a probation officer, failure to pay costs, positive drug tests, and failure to complete a program. The punishment in MTAG cases is up to the maximum term in jail or prison for the offense for which you were placed on probation. So if you were placed on probation for a Class A Misdemeanor (Assault, DWI 2nd, Assault Family Violence) you are facing up to 365 days in county jail in your MTAG case. If you were placed on probation for a Third Degree Felony (Possession of a Controlled Substance), you face up to 10 years in prison on your MTAG case.

Motions to Adjudicate Guilt are filed with the Court that the original charge was in regardless of where the probation is being served. An MTAG will be given to the Judge and the Judge will issue a warrant for the arrest of the person alleged to have violated probation. You are entitled to a bond with an MTAG. Unfortunately, the warrants are often issued without a bond being set. That means you could be arrested on the MTAG warrant and held without bond until an attorney arranges to have your bond set. Worse still, the MTAG can be filed and warrant issued without any notice at all to the person on probation. That can result in a very unpleasant surprise arrest. These arrests often take place at regularly scheduled probation meetings.

When you entered your plea to the underlying offense and received your deferred adjudication probation the judge did not find you guilty. Instead the judge said something like, “I find that there is enough evidence to find you guilty but, I will defer a finding of guilt and place you on community supervision for a period.” That means no conviction was entered on your record. Having you finally convicted of the offense you were placed on probation for is one of the main goals of prosecutors in a MTAG case. The other main goal, jail time, is discussed below in “The Bottom Line” section.

Though you were not convicted the offense still appears on your record. That record can be cleaned up (see the “Record Clearing” portion of this website) with an Order of Non-Disclosure. Your record can be cleaned up unless you are convicted because of an MTAG. Between avoiding a conviction and avoiding jail time you have a lot to fight for in an MTAG case. Be sure you hire a lawyer that is good in a fight.

Motions to Revoke Probation
If you did not receive deferred adjudication probation when you entered a plea before the judge, you were placed on regular probation and a conviction was entered on your record. Any alleged violations of that probation will be contained in a Motion to Revoke Probation. Examples of common probation violations are failure to report to a probation officer, failure to pay costs, positive drug tests, and failure to complete a program.

Motions to Revoke Probation (MTR) are filed with the Court that the original charge was in regardless of where the probation is being served. An MTR will be given to the Judge and the Judge will issue a warrant for the arrest of the person alleged to have violated probation. You are not entitled to a bond with an MTR however many judges can be persuaded to set a bond on an MTR. Unfortunately, the warrants are often issued without a bond being set. That means you could be arrested on the MTR warrant and held without bond until an attorney arranges to have your bond set. Worse still, the MTR can be filed and warrant issued without any notice at all to the person on probation. That can result in a very unpleasant surprise arrest. These arrests often take place at regularly scheduled probation meetings.

The punishment in MTR cases is up to the maximum term in jail or prison that was probated when you were placed on probation. So if you were placed on probation for a Class A Misdemeanor (Assault, DWI 2nd, Assault Family Violence) and the terms of probation were 270 days in jail probated for 2 years, you are facing up to 270 days in county jail in your MTAG case. If you were placed on probation for a Third Degree Felony (Possession of a Controlled Substance) and the terms of probation were 5 years in prison probated for 5 years, you face up to 5 years in prison on your MTR case.

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The Bottom Line
The State of Texas wants to put you in jail or prison. Prosecutors and Judges see MTR and MTAG cases this way, “you had your second chance when you received probation instead of prison time. You did not follow your probation terms. It is time for you to go to prison.” The line just above the bottom line in probation violation cases is you need an attorney.

The Prosecutors have legal and procedural advantages in probation violation cases. First, the legal issue is not whether or not you committed a crime. In a probation violation case no one cares if you shoplifted, possessed cocaine, or drove intoxicated. If you had a defense to your charge or the State’s case was weak that does not matter anymore. The only issue in a probation violation case is did you violate your probation in some way. The prosecutors know this is all they have to prove to put you in jail.

You do not have a right to a jury trial in a probation violation case. The only hearing you are entitled to is a hearing before the judge that sentenced you in the first place. You are not entitled to proof beyond a reasonable doubt in a probation violation case. All the prosecutors have to prove to the judge that sentenced you is that it is more likely than not (about a 51% chance) that you violated your probation terms in the way they alleged.

The laws and procedures surrounding a probation violation case make it impossible for a citizen to get their best result without a great attorney.

So Get a Great Attorney
MTR and MTAG probation violation cases can be defended and won. You can, with the right defense, keep your probation. I have defended hundreds of probation violation cases. My approach gets my clients their best possible results. In the case of MTAG’s it is possible to keep your deferred adjudication probation and avoid a conviction. If you want to be able to get that charge off your record someday, you have to keep that deferred probation.

Hire me to fight to keep your probation even in MTR cases. The right defense can be the difference between continued probation and a lengthy jail term. Do not give up and just go to jail. You cannot afford it. You can lose your job, your house, and your family if you have to spend a long period of time in jail. Jail is not unavoidable if you hire a great attorney and then do what I tell you.

Rely on Daniel K. Peugh for Comprehensive
Criminal & DWI Defense in Denton, Texas

Contact attorney Daniel K. Peugh today at 940.566 0271
in Denton, Texas, for comprehensive criminal defense.

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Peugh to schedule your free consultation today.

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