G. Thayer Williamson Your Drug Crime Attorney

What is a 12.44(a) in Texas?

I am often asked by clients "Can I get a 12.44(a)?" Before I answer this question, I want to make it clear that a 12.44(a) only applies to individuals that are either not eligible for probation, or do NOT want probation. Thus, if you or your loved one wants probation, this article does not pertain to you.

A state jail felony (SJF) is punishable by confinement in the Texas Dept. of Corrections for not less than 180 days, and confinement not to exceed two years. The most important factor of a SJF is that there is NO parole! In short, if you are sentenced to one year in the SJ, you will served the entire year, no less.

A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by confinement in the county jail not to exceed one year. The most important aspect of misdemeanor confinement in Dallas County, is that inmates earn 3 for 1 credit.

Here is a real world example: Defendant is arrested for prostitution. Defendant has previously been convicted of prostitution 5 times. Due to the prior convictions, this new case will be prosecuted as a SJF. On a SJF, the minimum sentence that the DA can offer is 180 days, day for day. A 12.44(a) would allow the DA to get a felony conviction while reducing the punishment to misdemeanor sentencing. If the DA and the Defendant's attorney were able work out an agreed sentence of 45 days in the County Jail, the Defendant would only serve 15 days in the County jail including back-time.

In the real world, Client's that hire me and my firm generally don't want me to negotiate the shortest jail sentence possible. Most of my client's want to try to beat the case, or accept a deal that would allow the client to clear their record. A 12.44(a) results in a felony conviction that will remain on the Defendant's record for the rest of their life.

If you have any questions about a criminal law matter, please feel free to contact the Law Office of G. Thayer Williamson. I have been practicing criminal law in Dallas Ft. Worth area since 2001. As a former Dallas County ADA, I have seen both sides of the system. I can use this knowledge to help you with your legal matter.