What is Shock Probation?

I have been asked recently what shock probation is:

Here is the law from the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure:

Article 42.12 Section 15 f (3):

When the defendant or the attorney representing the state files a written motion requesting suspension by the judge of further execution of the sentence and placement of the defendant on community supervision, the clerk of the court, if requested to do so by the judge, shall request a copy of the defendant’s record while confined from the facility director of the state jail felony facility in which the defendant is confined or, if the defendant is confined in county jail, from the sheriff. On receipt of the request, the facility director or the sheriff shall forward to the judge, as soon as possible, a full and complete copy of the defendant’s record while confined. When the defendant files a written motion requesting suspension of further execution of the sentence and placement on community supervision, he shall immediately deliver or cause to be delivered a true and correct copy of the motion to the office of the attorney representing the state. The judge may deny the motion without a hearing but may not grant the motion without holding a hearing and providing the attorney representing the state and the defendant the opportunity to present evidence on the motion.

Shock Probation is a program under Texas law where a defendant convicted of a crime is sentenced to prison, but within 6 months a judge reduces the sentence to probation.

The purpose is to “shock” the defendant into never committing a crime again, by serving prison time, but releasing them on probation before they become hardened by the prison sentence. It saves the Texas Department of Criminal Justice the expense or long term incarceration, and reduces the likelihood of future criminal behavior.

A defendant is eligible for shock probation for a misdemeanor or first offense felony charge. Shock probation may be recommended by a jury during sentencing, or issued by a judge after the fact.

This type of sentencing, however, is not available to everyone. Judges usually grant shock probation to first time offenders who they believe will be good candidates. By having a strong legal representative on your side, they could plead your case before the judge and increase your chances of being granted probation.


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