What is a 12.44(b)?
Texas Penal Code 12.44(b) reads: “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.”
What does this mean? It means that if you are charged with a state jail felony, the state can move to reduce it to a Class A misdemeanor and punish the crime like a Class A misdemeanor, which means you could be punished by up to a year in jail, or probation, or a deferred adjudication probation.
This means that your record should reflect that you did not plead guilty to a felony but instead pled to a misdemeanor offense. This could be like an “attempted” possession of controlled substance less than a gram – which is a Class A misdemeanor.
It also means that if you are placed on probation and the state moves to revoke your probation, your potential jail time is only up to a year in the county jail.
It also means that if you are successful on a deferred adjudication, you are automatically eligible for a non-disclosure after your successful release from deferred probation.
Potential problems may include:
The misdemeanor is not usually refiled as a new case. You are punished under the old cause number, and if the clerk does not code the reduction right it may look like, on your record, you pled to a felony. Your defense attorney should do everything s/he can to amend the information, especially if you have immigration concerns, to reflect the misdemeanor allegation.
The state has to agree to 12.44(b). If you are charged with a state jail felony and believe you should receive a 12.44(b), call me today to talk about the possibilities.