If you violate probation for the first time you risk going to jail.

If you violate probation, the judge may issue a warrant for your arrest.

Additionally, there may not be a bond for the warrant. This is called a no bond. This means that you will need to hire a criminal defense lawyer and request the judge to set a bond for you. The bond set will usually be twice the original bond.

When you violate your probation, even for the first time, your probation officer can file a report that will prompt the court to issue a warrant for your arrest. This can happen either for a felony or misdemeanor first time probation violation. It depends on the seriousness of the violation.

What will happen when you violate probation depends greatly on the type of violation and the type of offense for which you are on probation.

Judges can revoke your probation even if it is the first time you violate probation. They can then send you to jail to serve your original sentence. This is true whether you are on felony or misdemeanor probation.

If it is your first misdemeanor probation violation and is not a very serious one, the judge can extend your probation or change the conditions to address the type of violation.

The first time you violate probation can but usually does not end up in a lengthy jail sentence. In most cases, the judge will likely warn you of the consequences of what will happen if there is another violation. He may also change the conditions of your probation or increase the length of the term of your probation. Your lawyer can be very helpful in this situation.

A first-time violation of probation in a felony offense can be much more serious. The judge can revoke your probation even for a first-time violation. However, as with misdemeanors, the punishment depends on the severity of the violation.

Sentencing for a violation for a felony or misdemeanor is always the judge’s decision. Some judges are stricter than others. If you violate probation with a relatively minor violation, you will not usually be sentenced to jail.

Probation violations like getting behind on community service hours, or getting behind on fees and court costs, will not usually result in a jail sentence unless it gets out of hand.

If you violate probation by not reporting to your probation officer – even if it is a first-time violation – you can end up in jail. Few judges will tolerate this under any circumstances.

The most important thing to remember is that judges have great discretion in sentencing you to jail if you violate probation even for the first time for either a felony or a misdemeanor probation.

Lastly, you have a right to challenge your revocation by requesting a hearing. At the hearing, the state must provide evidence that you actually did violate probation. Without such proof, the judge cannot revoke your probation. However, always remember, the judge makes the final decision on whether to put you in jail if you violate probation.


If you are charged with or convicted of a misdemeanor, you may be sentenced outright to probation. You may also be able to serve a probation sentence in lieu of jail time or following a shortened period of jail time. Given the option of probation, most people are eager to accept the terms offered, particularly when it means ending incarceration early or avoiding it altogether.

But even for a misdemeanor, a probation sentence can be trying. Not only are there typically numerous requirements you must satisfy, but there is also little room for error. Breaking its terms could result in your probation being revoked and you having to serve the remainder of your sentence in jail.

Several factors affect the terms and length of your specific probation sentence, including the nature of the misdemeanor for which you were convicted and your own criminal history. In general, most probation sentences may involve the following requirements:

      • Avoiding further arrest or criminal activity
      • Meeting regularly with an assigned probation officer
      • Undergoing random and regular drug and alcohol testing/maintaining sobriety
      • Completing substance abuse treatment, safe driving classes, an anger management course, and/or other programs as deemed necessary by the court
      • Obtaining and keeping a job
      • Community service
      • Paying off all court and probation fees, restitution payments, and other costs related to your arrest and conviction
      • Keeping current on child support, alimony, or other court-mandated payments
      • Remaining within a particular area (usually your state or county) or receiving permission from your probation officer if you wish to travel


Felony probation operates similarly to misdemeanor probation:

      • You may receive probation following a felony charge, with the opportunity to avoid conviction if you complete the probation terms (known as deferred adjudication)
      • You may be sentenced to probation in addition to other penalties, such as jail time, after you are convicted of a felony (known as conviction probation)
      • You may be sentenced to probation in lieu of jail time following a felony conviction (known as straight probation)

Most of the details about meeting probation requirements are the same for both felonies and misdemeanors, with an important distinction: certain felonies, such as capital offenses and other crimes for which the sentence exceeds 10 years, are not eligible for probation sentences.


Whatever leniency a prosecutor or judge may show following a first probation violation, they are far less likely to show on a second violation. Even so, violating probation twice does not automatically mean your probation will be revoked. Consider the following potential penalties you could receive:

      • Additional time on your probation sentence
      • Expanded terms of your probation, such as additional fines, more frequent drug and alcohol screening, further community service hours, and/or requirement to complete another course or program
      • A period of jail time, either on its own or in addition to other consequences
      • Revocation of your probation

Your best asset when trying to avoid having your probation revoked is a knowledgeable lawyer who can help you navigate a potential revocation hearing and evaluate your other options after a violation.

Talk to a Kingwood criminal defense lawyer if you’ve violated your probation

Whether you need legal guidance following a first violation, a second violation, or for another issue related to your misdemeanor or felony probation, attorney Andrew J. Williams knows how to get you the best possible outcome.

To learn more about how we can help, 281-358-9111 today or contact our law firm online.

By Andrew J. Williams, Board-certified criminal defense lawyer

Andrew Williams, an experienced attorney who can challenge evidence in a DWI case
About the Author: Andrew Williams
I am a criminal defense lawyer with over 20 years experience defending people accused of wrongdoing. I am board certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Only ten percent of attorneys in Texas are board certified in their respective field. I practice criminal law exclusively in both state and federal court including appeals of criminal cases.