Skip to main content

I am on probation in Harris county tx and received an open container citation, will this violate my felony probation?

Houston, TX |

I am on second degree felony probation for intoxicated assault with a motor vehicle. It clearly states no alcohol in my stipulations. I was not under the influence and even passed a field sobriety test the evening of the citation. I have served roughly five out of ten years of my sentence and have no alcohol related infractions. All of my classes and fines are current and I still attend Alcoholics Anonymous on a regular basis. I have not gone to court and or given any plead to this citation. I am planning on calling my probation officer first thing Monday morning. Do I need to plead no contest to this charge and pay the fine since there was indeed an open container in my vehicle? And if I do what is likely to happen in regards to my probation term? Any and all advise is welcome, thank you

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

That's a tough one. As for handling the citation, I would hire a ticket attorney to see if that can't get it dismissed. Definitely do not just go pay it. That will result in a conviction.

I'm wondering how your probation conditions are worded. Does it state you have to report anything greater than a Class C? If so, I wouldn't even report it. Or does it state you have to report anything other than a traffic citation? It sounds like you've been doing great until now. I'm concerned that because of the offense you are on probation for and your strict alcohol-related conditions, your PO will violate you for this rather minor infraction. A slip-up like this could easily lead to months of in-patient treatment if not jail or pen time. With all of this hanging over your head, the fact that you are still drinking leads me to believe that you do not have control over alcohol.

Basically, you are rolling the dice by telling your PO. On the one hand, if you don't tell her and she finds out, she's even more likely to violate you. But if she doesn't find out till you're about to discharge from probation in five years and the ticket is long disposed of, she won't care much at that point. You might consult the attorney who originally handled your case to see what he recommends. Much of this decision has to do with how your specific judge is likely to react.

Macy Jaggers's answer to a legal question on Avvo does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Ms. Jaggers offers everyone a free consultation to discuss their case. Feel free to call her office at 214-365-9800 to make an appointment (phones are answered 24 hours) or visit her website at www.macyjaggers.com for more information about her services and recent victories.

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful

4 lawyers agree

3 comments

Asker

Posted

Ok, this is where it gets more complicated. The container was an unmarked styrofoam cup with a lid. The officer pulled me over for a faulty license plate light and issued a warning. He then inquires about the cup which was indeed mine but out of reach in the passenger side cup holder. I told him that there was alcohol in the cup and tried to 'explain' that I was coming home from the local mechanic shop and the cup was not mine but he interjected and continued me on to the rear of the vehicle for a field test. Afterwards he asked me to dump the 'unchecked' contents from the cup into the grass. I told him I was on probation but never openly admitted to owning container, only that I there was likely to be alcohol within. I know I am in the wrong here.. Should I still try and get this dismissed in result of insufficient evidence, or does there seem to be too much of a case against me?

Asker

Posted

Also, what are the chances of audio recordings being involved if I was only pulled over for a faulty license plate light? If all that may be reviewed is a video recording the only thing shown would be the field test and me dumping out an old container.. I am very upset with myself and am willing to take complete accountability for my actions. I just hope that I can avoid any more blemish on my record if at all possible.. Again thank you for your time and expertise.

Macy Michelle Jaggers

Macy Michelle Jaggers

Posted

These facts do not make your case more complicated. Yes, you should always hire a ticket attorney to try to get a ticket dismissed. They know a lot of technical ways to do this without going all the way to trial. It will not be dismissed due to insufficient evidence. There is very little chance that the in-car video was preserved. Having your probation revoked would be more than a "blemish on your record." As I said before, the judge can send you to prison, can send you to a 9-month in-patient rehab, can give you up to 180 days in jail for violating, or any number of other outcomes. The effect of the ticket on your record is inconsequential. It is the effect of the ticket on your probation you need to worry about. I have seen every different type of outcome in these situations. I've have clients fail to report the citation, get the ticket dismissed, and be successfully discharged from probation. I've had clients admit the new offense (even higher level than a ticket), and it didn't affect their probation at all. And I've had clients admit to the new offense and get violated. The best suggestion I can give you is to consult local counsel for a better idea of how your jurisdiction is likely to respond to this situation.

Posted

Actually, I believe that you are asked each time you report to probation whether or not you have had any contact with police, and if so, to provide details. You will know this (and my guess is since you are prepared to let your p.o. know already, it probably is the rule.)

You must decide how to handle this. Many times, judges will require a person about to get off probation to take a polygraph. If so, and you do not report it, you are likely to fail.

The real question I have is WHOSE alcohol container was in your car? WHERE was it found? IF it was not yours, but you were ticketed because it was in your car, then it is far less likely that something is going to happen to your probation. If it was yours, that is a different story. (Some times cops note whether or not the container was cold to the touch in an effort to insinuate that you were consuming as opposed to someone else having left it in the car.)

You should definitely hire a lawyer to represent you on the open container case with the thought towards trying the case (as any admission could cause your probation to be revoked.)

Be aware, though, that the burden of proving a violation of probation is less than proving the case against you for a conviction.

If it was not your alcohol and you can pass a test, get one done immediately.

Cynthia Henley
713-222-1220

Mark as helpful

4 lawyers agree

1 comment

Asker

Posted

Ok, this is where it gets more complicated. The container was an unmarked styrofoam cup with a lid. The officer pulled me over for a faulty license plate light and issued a warning. He then inquires about the cup which was indeed mine but out of reach in the passenger side cup holder. I told him that there was alcohol in the cup and tried to 'explain' that I was coming home from the local mechanic shop and the cup was not mine but he interjected and continued me on to the rear of the vehicle for a field test. Afterwards he asked me to dump the 'unchecked' contents from the cup into the grass. I told him I was on probation but never openly admitted to owning container, only that I there was likely to be alcohol within. I know I am in the wrong here.. Should I still try and get this dismissed in result of insufficient evidence, or does there seem to be too much of a case against me?

Posted

You should contact a local lawyer to contest the citation. You should have a local lawyer review your conditions of probation to see if you are required to report contacts or just mention them if asked.

Austin Probation Lawyer
512-495-1813
www.austincriminaldefenseattorney.com

My answers are intended only as general legal advice and are not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. There is no substitute for a full consultation with a local experienced criminal defense attorney. For more answers based on my 19 years of experience visit my website, www.austincriminaldefenseattorney.com

Mark as helpful

3 lawyers agree

DUI topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics