Setting a Bond in a Probation Revocation

By Allen, Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer Kyle T. Therrian
Office Number: (972) 562-7549
24 Hr Jail Release: (214) 403-6522

Sometimes probation takes a turn for the ugly. When it comes to determining how many or what kind of violations will trigger a revocation, it’s sometimes impossible to predict which straw will break the camel’s back. However, once that straw comes and a motion to revoke is filed, an arrest warrant will promptly follow. Obviously, one of the more immediate concerns of a person in this kind of situation is whether a bond will be set. The type of probation will dictate how a bond is set.

Deferred Adjudication (Motion to Adjudicate) – Bond Must Be Set

Simply put, a person placed on deferred adjudication probation has an absolute right to a bond in the event of a revocation. Technically, a person on deferred adjudication community supervision (“deferred adjudication”) who is alleged to have violated a term or condition of probation faces a “Motion to Adjudicate.” When a person is granted deferred adjudication, a judge does not make a determination of guilt and does not “adjudicate” the matter. This technicality is not only the reason we call it a “motion to adjudicate,” but also why the judge is required to set a bond in the event the State files such a motion. Our Constitution secures a “pre-trial” right to reasonable bail and our courts have interpreted pre-trial to be synonymous with pre-adjudication in this context.

In practice, when the judge signs the warrant he or she also determines a bond amount. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen which causes a arrested on a motion to adjudicate to be held without bond. This situation can be corrected by hiring an attorney to petition the judge to have a bond set.

Straight or Regular Probation (Motion to Revoke) – Bond May Be Set

Unlike a person facing a motion to adjudicate, a person facing a motion to revoke has no right to a bond. In fact, most judges will not independently set a bond when a motion to revoke is filed. The distinction, again, is a technical one. By definition, a person on straight probation has been found guilty by a judge, convicted and sentenced to a specific jail sentence which was probated (suspended). In other words, the case is no longer in the “pre-trial” phase and the constitutional right to pre-trial bail no longer exists.

This doesn’t mean that a bond cannot be set. A bond may be set if an attorney can persuade the judge or reach an agreement with the prosecutor, but this can only happen after the individual has been arrested on the revocation motion and is in the custody of the county jail. The likelihood of this happening will usually depend upon the circumstances of the revocation, but many of our laws encourage the setting of a bond even for people facing a motion to adjudicate.

*Kyle Therrian is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For legal advice on any case you should contact an attorney directly.

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