What is a 12.44?
Why Your Loved One Keeps Asking for a 12.44 on a State Jail Felony Drug Case
What is a 1244 and Do I even Want One?
Can I get a 12.44? How do you qualify for a 12.44 when you are in Bexar County Jail? How can a criminal defense attorney help you or a loved one qualify for punishment under this statute? When you have a loved one who has been arrested and is waiting in jail it feels like no one is giving you any information. Many times your loved one calls and tells you what they see happening in other people’s cases. If this is true, they may bring up a 12.44. A 12.44 is the part of the Texas Penal Code that allows a judge to give misdemeanor punishment for a State Jail Felony conviction. This guide will explain why your loved one is talking about a 12.44, define a 12.44, and tell you how your loved one can qualify.
Why Does Everyone Want a 12.44
In Texas, there are crimes called State Jail Felonies. These cases are the least felonies but they can still mess you up. Usually, these crimes are drug possession cases and involve very small amounts of a controlled substance. The problem Texas has had historically is that no one takes these cases very seriously, and judges and state legislators believe that drug treatment is necessary even for possessing very small amounts of a controlled substance. This made it difficult to sentence people within the range of a third-degree felony (2 to 10 years) and also (they felt) giving them a misdemeanor didn’t take the situation seriously enough. The State Jail Felony was thus created. So, the range of punishment for a State Jail is six months to two years, but here’s the key, you do your time day for day. Unless… Unless you get the prosecutors to agree to give you a 12.44. If you get a 12.44 the time is not day for day. It is counted as “County” time meaning the Sheriff determines how much credit you get. Usually, the County has programs (like trustee programs) that reward you for working in the prison or going to treatment programs. These programs let you escape the day for day counting that happens in State Jail Felonies. So, instead of spending six months incarcerated you can get time served after two or three months.
How do you get a 12.44
The only way to get a 12.44 is by negotiating it as part of a plea agreement with the State of Texas. In fact, neither your defense attorney nor your loved one can request a 12.44 or ask the judge for a 12.44. It must be requested by the State through the prosecutor. These recommendations are rarely made unless they are suggested. So, your criminal defense attorney must make the 12.44 a part of the plea bargain negotiations. Usually, prosecutors will look at someone’s criminal history and determine whether or not they believe it is appropriate to offer a 12.44. If someone has multiple incarcerations for State Jail Felonies prosecutors are less likely to make a 12.44 available. The driving factor in most State Jail Felony cases is treatment. Assistant District Attorney’s love to put people in residential in-custody treatment. They usually offer 12.44’s when someone has been unsuccessful on deferred adjudication or probation.
What’s the downside to getting a 12.44?
Very simply the downside is, that a 12.44 is considered a felony conviction. There is no way to get the conviction reversed or sealed. You cannot get it expunged. If you or your loved one accepts the 12.44 he or she will be a convicted felon for the rest of their lives. If you have a drug case that can be defended or beaten it is better to fight the case or accept deferred adjudication than it is to accept a 12.44, especially if you are out of custody.
What if you weren’t charged with a State Jail can you still get a 12.44?
A good lawyer creates options for their clients that don’t typically exist. So, the answer is no. But sometimes a good lawyer can negotiate a more serious drug case where the person is in custody and get the charge reduced to a State Jail Felony. It is also important to say, that sometimes good lawyers cannot negotiate these results. Usually, good deals come when good negotiators have good facts to work with, and the facts of your case will likely dictate the possible results your attorney can achieve.
At The Locke Law Group, we have handled thousands of State Jail Felony cases we have resolved these cases by trial and by negotiation. It is important to have a lawyer that calls you back and understands your situation. If you need help with a State Jail Felony case give us a call today!