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Probation Fees in Texas: How Much Will It Cost?

Probation fees in Texas can be as low as $25 per month or hundreds of dollars, including the monthly supervision fee, court costs, drug or alcohol testing, and such other miscellaneous expenses as ignition interlock devices. Some probationers say they’ve had to prioritize probation fees over rent for fear of revocation.

And there could be serious repercussions if you can’t pay. Here’s what you need to know.

How Much are Probation Fees in Texas?

Most first-time defendants will do whatever it takes to avoid incarceration. Probation and community supervision sentences keep you out of jail, but there are some related costs you’ll have to pay out of pocket.

These include:

  • A monthly supervision fee ranging from $25 to $60
  • Court-ordered drug or alcohol tests: These range from $25 to more than $100 per test, depending on the type of tests ordered
  • Education program fees
  • Crimestopper fees
  • Lab fees
  • Ignition interlock fee (for DWI cases)
  • Court fees
  • Attorney fees
  • Transportation to and from meetings with your probation officer
  • Other case-related fees

You’ll also face careful supervision and restricted rights.

Probation Fees Can Add Up Quickly

Probation fees for criminal cases can add up quickly. In Texas, a misdemeanor probation term can last up to two years and cost more than $600 monthly fees.

A felony probation term could last up to 10 years and cost more than $3,000 monthly fees.

The State of Texas relies on these fees to offset some of the costs of the criminal justice system.

In one example, The Dallas Morning News interviewed a Bell County teen who was required to pay $400 per month to a probation officer to cover over $1,800 in fines, fees, and court costs after his arrest on a minor marijuana charge.

Meanwhile, he was earning $8 an hour as a shipping clerk.

What Happens If I Fall Behind on Probation Fees?

If you fall behind on probation fees, you will likely face sanctions. Your sentence could be extended, you could be required to complete community service, or you may have to attend mandated education programs as additional probation conditions.

However, you won’t necessarily have to return to jail if you can’t afford the costs. Texas courts can waive fees if a judge determines the payments would cause significant financial hardship for the defendant.

Discuss Fees at Your First Probation Meeting

During your first probation meeting, you’ll meet with your probation officer to learn your probation’s exact terms and conditions.

If you have questions, this is the time to ask them. You will work with your probation officer to set goals and expectations, including any rehabilitation classes or drug test requirements.

At the end of your meeting, your probation officer will ensure you understand your financial obligations. If you’re struggling financially, now is the time to discuss this with your probation officer. They will establish a payment plan to ensure your probation fees are covered every month.

How Probation Terms and Conditions Affect Your Costs

Your probation terms and conditions will be unique to your situation. In Texas, your terms will hinge on the offense, the nature of your conviction, your criminal history, and the specific instructions the judge provides.

This will affect your out-of-pocket costs, such as attending your regularly scheduled meetings with your probation officer. If you miss a single meeting, even if it’s because you don’t have transportation or can’t afford to take time off work, it will be considered your first parole violation.

Parole violations have serious consequences. It could ultimately land you behind bars.

READ MORE: How to beat a probation violation in Texas

Drinking and Drug Testing Fees on Probation

Remaining drug- and alcohol-free may be one of your conditions of probation. You may be randomly tested at any time — regardless of the reason for your original conviction. And you will likely be required to pay for these tests.

These can be completely random; testing is not limited to days you’re scheduled to meet with your probation officer. Your probation officer can call you in for a test for any reason.

Drug testing is performed using different forms of biological specimens, including urine, blood, breath, hair, and saliva. Urinalysis is the most common.

You must pay for these tests, which can cost anywhere from about $20 to more than $200, depending on the type of test required.

If you don’t appear for the test — even if the reason is that you couldn’t afford the fee — it could be considered an automatic failure.

If you fail a drug test during your probation, your probation may be revoked.

Consult an Attorney to Discuss Probation Fees in Texas

Do you have questions about the costs associated with your probation term? Are you struggling to make payments, or do you believe you’ve been unfairly charged or fined? If so, contact Michael & Associates. We can help you fully understand your situation, rights, and options.

Having an experienced lawyer to lean on will ensure your rights are upheld while on probation.

FAQs About Texas Probation Fees

Do you have more questions about your specific probation fees, how to pay them, and what could happen if you don’t? Get answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about probation fees in Texas below.

How Much are Probation Fees in Texas?

Texans on probation must cover the cost of supervision out of pocket. This includes a monthly payment of at least $25 up to $60.

Depending on the circumstances of the probation, you might also have to pay other fees. For instance, court-ordered drug tests are usually at the expense of the individual required to take them. Failure to pay could lead to the revocation of your probation.

What Happens If Probation Fees Aren’t Paid on Time in Texas?

If you fall behind on paying your probation fees in Texas, your probation officer might decide to alert the court. Paying probation fees is a court order, so it’s necessary that you do your best to remain compliant.

If the court discovers you are not paying what you owe, they’ll first attempt to work with you to create a new payment plan. In general, your probation officer and courtrooms do not want to hit you with a probation violation, but they will have to do so if you aren’t working with them to pay what you owe.

Is it Possible to Face Jail Time for Failing to Pay Probation Fees in Texas?

Yes. You can serve jail time if you fail to adhere to your probation fee payment plan.

The main reason for this is that paying your fees is considered a term of your probation, and violating a term of your probation is considered a crime.

Technical violations occur when you haven’t met the terms of your probation – like failing to pay your fees. While your probation officer likely won’t want to send you back to jail for failing to pay your fees, it is an option if you’re avoiding your financial obligations.

That said, the U.S. Supreme Court has put protections in place for individuals who genuinely do not have the ability to pay their probation fees but have been compliant with all other terms. In the 1983 case of Bearden v. Georgia, the Supreme Court ruled that probation can’t be revoked, and a person cannot be sent back to jail if they can prove that they genuinely do not have the funds to pay off the fine. Read more about the ruling at

If you struggle to make your payments, be open and honest with your probation officer. In most cases, you can set up a new payment plan.

Do You Have More Questions About Probation in Texas?

Remember that you’ll be coping with more than just the financial ramifications of your probation.

If you have more questions about the process, the costs associated with it, your legal rights, or just need legal advice about your next steps, our team at Michael & Associates is ready to help.

Schedule an obligation-free consultation with our team to discuss your situation in more detail with one of our best Texas criminal defense attorneys.

Charles Pelowski

Charles Pelowski is a Senior Trial Attorney at Michael & Associates. Charles’s extensive trial skills and strategic insights make him a formidable advocate for those accused of a crime in the Greater Houston area. He has a proven record in handling criminal cases across the state, from minor infractions to high-profile murder cases. His approach to defense is marked by creativity, a deep commitment to the jury trial system, and an unwavering pursuit of justice.

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