Can a county probation department require me to pay for community service if I am medically unable to complete it?

I was given 240 hours of community service as part of a 4 year probation on a theft charge. I was recently declared medically unable to complete my CS due to a permanent disability. I am now being told I am required to pay $5 per hour assigned. Can they do this? Wouldn’t this require a court order? Can they change the punishment given without a probation violation or revocation hearing?

Asked on September 8, 2010 under Criminal Law, Texas


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am sure that they have the power to change the terms of the probation if the need be.  But I am also pretty sure that you have the right to be heard when they do so.  It appears not that you refuse to do your community service but rather that it has been determined that you can not.  That is a good thing as failure to comply can come with it hefty penalties and fines.  I would call and speak with your defense attorney about the the possibility of having a hearing to modify the terms of your probation given your medical condition.  Your situation needs to be "humanized" before a Judge who can listen as to what you limitations financially and physically are.  But I would come up with a viable alternative for the Judge,  You need to complete probation some how and under some conditions.  Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.