The costs and conditions associated with probation keep many Texans trapped in a cycle of poverty and put them at risk of incarceration.
The fines and fees associated with probation can run in the thousands. Texans who cannot keep up with the payments are at risk of having their probation extended or revoked, further entangling them in the criminal legal system simply because they do not have access to financial resources. In addition to the costs, the conditions of probation can impose challenging restrictions on individuals and jeopardize their ability to obtain employment, relocate, or enroll in higher education programs.
There is no right to counsel during a probation period. TFDP provides assistance to eligible individuals to get relief from the fines, fees, and conditions associated with probation, and to discharge people from probation early.
Providing Legal Services
TFDP provides free legal assistance to people who may be eligible for early termination of probation.
The Probation Assistance project is currently not accepting new clients. Intakes will reopen in the fall.
In the meantime, if you require immediate relief from probation-related fees, it is recommended that you follow these steps:
1. Notify your Probation Officer, in writing, of your inability to afford your probation fees. Keep a copy of this for your records as well.
-- If you are able, make some payment every month, even if it’s just $5, to show a record of trying.
2. Fill out and sign a Statement of Inability to Afford Court Costs, and also submit this to your probation officer.
3. Continue every single other aspect of probation, such as attending classes or completing community service.
-- This includes attending ALL check-ins with probation, even if you aren’t able to pay when you show up.
Advocating for Change
TFDP is working with local and national partners to push for reforms to make probation termination services more accessible to all Texans.