What is a 12.44(a) or a 12.44(b)?

Gavel next to small scales of justice on top of open legal book with overlay text reading "Appellate-specific Experience, Experienced Trial Attorney, Case J. Darwin, INC."A 12.44(a) or a 12.44(b) comes from the Texas Penal Code.  Texas Penal Code section 12.44(a) typically gets a defendant time served in the county jail for a state-jail felony.  It does carry with it a felony conviction.  Texas Penal Code section 12.44(b) is a conversion statute. It converts a state-jail felony into a Class A Misdemeanor and typically carries a time-served sentence.  A 12.44(b) is much better because it leaves a defendant with a misdemeanor for punishment purposes. It gets rid of the felony!

Texas Penal Code section 12.44, “Reduction of State Jail Felony Punishment to Misdemeanor Punishment,” provides,

  • (a) A court may punish a defendant who is convicted of a state jail felony by imposing the confinement permissible as punishment for a Class A misdemeanor if, after considering the gravity and circumstances of the felony committed and the history, character, and rehabilitative needs of the defendant, the court finds that such punishment would best serve the ends of justice.
  • (b) At the request of the prosecuting attorney, the court may authorize the prosecuting attorney to prosecute a state jail felony as a Class A misdemeanor.

Tex. Pen. Code Ann. § 12.44 (West 2018).

A 12.44(a) or 12.44(b) thus only occurs with an agreement between the State and the defense attorney. A court will not do it on its own accord.

This is always something worth exploring in an appropriate case. Contact Case J. Darwin to help!

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