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    Frequently Asked Questions

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    Question Answer
    Q01:  What is Community Supervision?

    A:  Community Supervision (formerly known as Adult Probation) is ordered by a judge or jury whenever a defendant pleads, or is found, guilty of a felony or misdemeanor offense.  The offender is permitted to remain living and working in the community rather than being sentenced to a term of incarceration in the County Jail or the Texas Department of Criminal Justice – Correctional Institutions Division. (TDCJ-CID)(state prison).

    When a defendant is placed on community supervision, he/she is ordered to certain terms and conditions of supervision which are determined by the judge.  The initial term of community supervision can be up to five years for state jail felonies and up to 10 years for first, second or third degree felonies.  For misdemeanor cases, the initial term of community supervision can be up to two years.  

    The Community Supervision and Corrections Department of Tarrant County is charged with supervising defendants ordered to community supervision in accordance with the court-ordered conditions. This is an opportunity to promote positive change in a defendant’s behavior.  

    If a defendant abides by the conditions of supervision to the Court’s satisfaction, he/she will be discharged from further supervision after completing the original term and any extensions. In some cases, early release from supervision can be granted.  

    If a defendant does not abide by the conditions of supervision, the defendant’s case can be brought back before the Court and a variety of court actions can occur, including the revocation of community supervision.  If a defendant’s term of community supervision is revoked, he/she can be sentenced to the County Jail or the TDCJ-CID.

     

    Q02:  What is the difference between probation and community supervision?

    A:  There is no difference between probation and community supervision.  In 1989, the 71st Legislature changed the name from “Adult Probation Department” to “Community Supervision and Corrections Department.” 

     

    Q03:  What is the difference between probation and parole?

    A:  While both are considered types of “community supervision”, Parole is the supervised conditional release of a prisoner before the expiration of his or her sentence in TDCJ- Correctional Institutions Division (prison).  If an offender is granted parole by the Board of Pardons and Paroles, the offender may serve the remainder of their sentence in the community under the supervision and control of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice –  Parole Division.

    Community supervision (probation) occurs prior to a defendant serving time in the County Jail or the TDCJ-CID. Its purpose is aimed at assisting to bring about positive change in a defendant’s behavior in order to prevent him/her from being sentenced to any term of incarceration.

    Q04:  What is Deferred Adjudication? A:  Deferred adjudication is a type of community supervision that, if completed successfully, will prevent a final conviction from appearing on the offender's record.

    In more detail, deferred adjudication is when upon a defendant’s plea of guilty or nolo contendere (no contest) to a felony or misdemeanor offense, the judge finds sufficient evidence to find the defendant guilty, but defers a finding of guilt, places the defendant under the supervision of the Community Supervision and Corrections Department for a specified term and sets out the terms and conditions of community supervision.  

    If the defendant successfully completes the term of community supervision, the case will be dismissed and there will be no finding of guilt or final conviction.  If the defendant is brought back before the judge on a motion from the District Attorney’s office due to violations of the terms and conditions of supervision, the judge can then, through a hearing or a plea bargain agreement, revoke the community supervision, find the defendant guilty of the original offense and sentence him/her to a term of incarceration in the county jail or the Texas Department of Criminal Justice – Correctional Institutions Division within the full range of punishment allowed by the Texas Penal Code, up to and including the maximum sentence.

    Q05:  What is the difference between deferred adjudication and adjudicated community supervision? A:  The important difference between adjudicated community supervision and deferred adjudication community supervision is that in a deferred adjudication, the person is placed on community supervision prior to a final conviction.  He/she has not been convicted of a criminal offense even though enough evidence was presented to the judge to convict him/her.  He/she does have an arrest record and a pending offense.  If he/she violates the conditions of community supervision, he/she is subject to the full range of punishment for the offense.  In other words, he/she can get the maximum sentence for his/her offense if his/her deferred adjudication is revoked, regardless of the length of the original community supervision sentence or the time he/she has served.

    Adjudication (or conviction) occurs when a defendant pleads guilty, or after a trial a defendant is found guilty by a jury or a judge, and he/she is sentenced to a specified amount of time of incarceration in the county jail or TDCJ-CID.

    Q06:  I am getting probation,  what can I expect on the first day?

    A:   When placed on probation by the Judge your probation begins as soon as you sign your paperwork in court.  If you are working, you should plan to take the entire day off of work, even if your court time is early in the morning.  You will be instructed to set up your payment plan for Fine, Court Costs and/or Attorney Fees immediately after leaving the courtroom at the Justice Center. Felony cases set up payment plan with the District Clerk located on the 3rd Level and Misdemeanor cases set up payment plan with the County Clerk located on the 2nd Level.

    *If you are in custody,  you will be returned to the Tarrant County Jail and usually you will be released to CSCD (Probation) the next business morning unless the Judge has ordered additional jail time as a condition of your probation. Upon release from jail, you will be escorted to the Central Office by a probation officer. You will need to return to the Justice Center, located at 401 W. Belknap, to set up your payment plan for Fine, Court Costs and/or Attorney Fees.

    After payment plan has been set up you will precede across Belknap Street to the Central Office for CSCD (Probation), located at 200 W. Belknap (approximately one block from the Justice Center). You will go to the 2nd Floor Room 200 and be processed. This includes having your picture taken and a file created for your case(s). You will be asked to provide some reference information including name, phone number and address. You will need to provide your complete address where you are residing. If you reside in Tarrant County you will be given written reporting instructions to meet with your assigned officer at a field service unit based on the ZIP code where you reside (Some specialized caseload placements may require you to report to a location that is not the closest to your residence). If you reside outside of Tarrant County, you will meet with your court officer to review your conditions and discuss possibly transferring your case to the county where you reside. You will also be given a budget worksheet that will need to be completed prior to your first meeting with your assigned officer.

    You will also need to complete an assessment with our Assessment Unit, located on the 1st Floor at 300 W. Belknap. Everyone placed on probation is required to complete an assessment, as this will determine if there are any additional classes, programs or conditions that are recommended for your case. The assessment process can take a couple of hours to fully complete.

    If you are ordered to participate in a random drug testing program as part of your probation, you may need to submit a non-dilute, non-adulterated urine, hair, blood, breath, or saliva sample for testing for controlled substances. There is a collection lab located at the Central Office in the basement.

    Probation fee payments and restitution payments, if ordered, can be made at the Central Office with Cash, Money Order or Cashier’s Check. Payments made at field units can be made with Money Order or Cashier’s Check.

    Prior to your first meeting with your assigned officer please review your probationer handbook and bring the items listed on the back cover with you when you meet your officer for the first time.

    Q07:  I just got put on probation, what do I need to bring to my first visit?

    A:  You MUST bring the following items with you when you report to your supervision officer for your first appointment:

    • Completed Budget Worksheet (which is included in your Probationer Handbook),
    • Driver’s license and insurance card,
    • Texas ID (if you don’t have a driver’s license),
    • High school diploma / GED documentation,
    • Documentation of any existing medical condition,
    • All drug prescriptions,
    • Verification of address (e.g., lease, water bill, etc.),
    • Verification of employment (e.g., check stub),
    • Immigration Registration (if applicable),
    • Social Security card,
    • Certificates from any program(s) you have already completed,
    • Your copy of your conditions of supervision, and
    • Any other paperwork from your court processing.

     

    Q08:  What are conditions of community supervision? A:  The conditions are rules set by the court which must be followed in order to successfully complete community supervision.  The judge may change the conditions of community supervision whenever necessary.  Some of the conditions which may be ordered by the court are discussed briefly below.  The court is not limited to the conditions listed here.  Often the judge will add special conditions such as participation in a treatment program, drug screening or educational program.

    1. Commit no offense against the laws of this State or of any other State or of the United States.

    2. Avoid injurious or vicious habits and abstain from the illegal use of controlled substances, marijuana, cannabinoids or excessive consumption of any alcoholic beverage.  Submit to an assessment for substance abuse.  Attend and successfully complete treatment.

    3. Avoid persons and places of disreputable or harmful character.

    4. Report to the Community Supervision and Corrections Department of Tarrant County, Texas, immediately following this hearing, and no less than monthly thereafter, or as scheduled by the court or supervision officer and obey all rules and regulations of the department.

    5. Permit the supervision officer to visit you at your home or elsewhere at any time.  

    6. Work faithfully at suitable employment and furnish proof of employment to your supervision officer.

    7. Remain within Tarrant County, Texas, unless the court or supervision officer authorizes you to leave.  

    8. Support your dependents.

    9. Notify the supervision officer of Tarrant County, Texas, if your address or employment is changed within five days from the date of change.

    10. Neither own nor possess firearms.  

    11. Execute a waiver of extradition.  

    12. Pay fees, fines, court costs, restitution if assessed.

    13. If supervision is transferred to another jurisdiction, continue to report to Tarrant County in the manner prescribed by the supervision officer, and comply with the rules and regulations of the receiving jurisdiction.  Pay fees to Tarrant County as ordered unless waived by the court.  

    14. Complete hours of community service restitution directed by the court or supervision officer.

    15. Submit non-diluted urine for testing for controlled substances and cannabinoids at the direction of the supervision officer and pay for urine testing as required.

    16. Provide proof of GED or high school diploma or complete education programs as directed by the supervision officer.

    The conditions of community supervision are very important.  These are the rules which you agreed to live by when the judge allowed you to be on community supervision.  If you have any questions about the conditions of community supervision, talk to your supervision officer.  

    Q09:  How can I make a payment to probation?

    A:  Payments can be made at our Central Office in the form of cash, Money Order or Cashier’s Check made payable to CSCD.  Payments made at our satellite field service units must be by Money Order or Cashier’s check made payable to CSCD. At the present time, we do not accept payments by credit/debit card. Payments made through the mail should only be made by Money Order or Cashier’s check.

    All mail should be directed to :   

         Tarrant County CSCD
         200 W. Belknap
         Fort Worth, TX 76196-0225

    Please make sure that the probationer’s name and CID number are on the money order or cashier’s check. 

    Q10:  If I am on probation, can I travel? 
    A:  Persons on felony probation in Tarrant County must remain in Tarrant County unless the court or supervision officer authorizes him/her to leave.  Travel permits are issued based on justifiable and verifiable reasons: verified employment; verified emergencies, illness, injury or family death; verified court appearance in other counties/states; or trips for recreational purposes.  Travel permits for recreational purposes are not normally approved if a probationer is delinquent on probation fees. Travel outside of the county is a privilege that may or may not be granted.  To get permission to travel outside Tarrant County, contact your supervision officer.
    Q11:  What information is available to the public, family members, victims regarding my probation status?
    A:  Information in case files is considered confidential and is not open to public view.  By law,  only "information of public record" may be released (probationer's name, case number, date of probation, number of years probated, court, probated offense, conditions of community supervision, assigned supervision officer).
    Q12:  What is appropriate dress for office visits? A:  People reporting to their officer should be dressed appropriately for the situation. This means no overly revealing attire, costumes, inappropriate t-shirts with profane messages, messages promoting alcohol or drug use, or attire that signifies or promotes any gang affiliation.
    Q13:  How can I transfer my probation to another county or state? A:  Supervision may be transferred to another county with permission from the court if it is in the best interest of the probationer to relocate.  Permission must be obtained PRIOR to moving to another jurisdiction.  Transfers out of state must be approved by the court and also must be follow the laws of the Interstate Commission of Adult Offender Supervision.  Contact  your officer to get more information about transferring your supervision.
    Q14:  Is there an office close to my house that I can report to? A:  Once placed on probation, offenders are assigned to an officer in a field service unit based on their home ZIP code or specialized need.  Supervision on a specialized caseload may require him/her to report to a field service unit that may not be the closest location to their residence. 
    Q15:  How often will I have to report? A:  Community supervision officers assess each offender’s level of risk and need using a standard assessment tool and then use the results to develop an appropriate case plan. Officers supervise offenders according to their assigned level of supervision.  While the majority of offenders report to their officer on a monthly basis, some may be required to report more or less frequently depending on their assigned level of supervision and/or compliance with their conditions of supervision. 
    Q16:  Can my probation term be extended? A:  The judge may extend a defendant’s initial term of community supervision for a felony case, on a showing of good cause, as often as the judge determines is necessary but the extension(s) cannot cause the total sentence to be more than 10 years.  For instance, if a defendant is ordered to an initial term of five years of community supervision for a state jail felony offense, the judge may only extend the term of supervision for up to five more years.  The same is true for first, second and third degree felony offenses.

    The judge may extend the term of community supervision in a misdemeanor case as often as the judge determines it is necessary. But the extension(s) cannot cause the total sentence to be more than three years.  For instance, if a defendant is sentenced to an initial term of two years of community supervision for a misdemeanor case, the judge may only extend the term of supervision for up to one more year.  The exception to this is if the defendant fails to pay previously assessed fines, costs or restitution.  In these cases, if the judge determines that extending the period of supervision increases the likelihood that the defendant will fully pay the fines, costs or restitution, the judge may extend the term of supervision for an additional two years beyond the three-year limit.
    Q17:  Can I get off probation early?

    A:  CSCD may review probation cases after one-half of the probation is completed.  Cases in good standing  are forwarded to the court of jurisdiction for review.  Early dismissal from probation is at the sole discretion of the judge.  
    Some offenses are not eligible by law for early dismissal:

    • Any case of Driving While Intoxicated;
    • Any case of Intoxication Assault or Intoxication Manslaughter;
    • Any case that requires the probationer to register as a sex offender; and/or
    • Any case that is a State Jail Felony conviction.

    If you are interested in early dismissal and/or a reduction in supervision requirements, talk to your officer to see what you need to do to get in good standing.  Please remember that some people will not qualify for reduced supervision or early dismissal even if he/she has met the time requirement.

    Q18:  When I complete my Deferred Adjudication will it be removed from my record? A:   Upon successful completion of deferred adjudication community supervision, the case and indictment are dismissed and there is no conviction. However the offense and arrest are not removed from the criminal record.  Some offenses are eligible to be sealed with an “Order of Non-Disclosure”.  To determine if an offense qualifies for an “Order of Non-Disclosure” and for information on how to proceed if it meets eligibility requirements, an attorney should be consulted. 
    Q19:  If I am on probation, can I own a gun? A:  As a result of being placed on community supervision, the right to purchase, own, possess or transport firearms under federal law may be affected.  Further information may be obtained from the local office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives or from an attorney. 
    Q20:  Can I vote when I am on probation? 
    A:  People on deferred adjudication supervision can vote.  People on adjudicated probation cannot vote until after he/she completes their supervision.
    Refer to Who can vote in Texas? on the Texas Secretary of State website.

    Q21:  Can I serve on a jury when I am on probation? A:  Persons with felony convictions can never serve on a jury. Persons on felony deferred adjudication cannot serve while on probation, but can after he/she successfully completes probation. Persons with misdemeanor deferred theft cases cannot serve (until after he/she is off probation) but other misdemeanors can serve on a jury. Persons with misdemeanor thefts convictions cannot ever serve on a jury.

    Refer to  Qualifications on the Tarrant County Jury Services website for more information.
    Q22:  I need to provide proof to my officer that I took my GED but cannot find it, where can I get proof? A:  If you took the GED in Texas after 1994, you may find records through the Texas Education Agency at GED Certificate Search.