Articles Posted in sentencing

For accused persons facing prosecution for certain low-level felony offenses, Texas Penal Code Section 12.44 is like the Holy Grail of plea deals. Clients continuously ask “what is a 12.44(a)” . . . “can I get a 12.44(a)” . . . and “how does 12.44(a) work?” They ask the same questions about Section 12.44(b).

So here’s the basics (and as always, if you have a particular legal question about YOUR CASE, talk to your lawyer . . . this post is for general info and should not be considered legal advice):

Section 12.44 of the Penal Code allows the trial court to either send you to your local county jail to serve time on a State Jail Felony Conviction (that’s Section 12.44(a)), or, with permission from the prosecutor, reduce your State Jail felony case to a misdemeanor conviction and have you serve your time in a county jail facility (that’s Section 12.44(b)).

Our firm regularly helps clients facing multiple charges. Sometimes these cases stem from a single incident, like a person who allegedly drives while intoxicated and evades the police all in the same night. Sometimes a person may get arrested for several unrelated charges. One example of this would be a person whose ex-wife presses charges for an assault. The husband then gets arrested a few months later for possession of  a controlled substance. Although the cases are completely unrelated, he will have to make legal decisions about both cases at the same time.

For people who don’t have a long history with the criminal justice system, a prison sentence can usually be avoided (depending on the severity of the accusations), and a person can usually expect to get the “extra” or less-serious charge dropped when facing multiple charges arising from the same incident.

But those with a substantial criminal history or facing extremely serious charges may have to deal with a prosecutor who threatens to “stack” an accused person’s sentences for prison time.

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