What is a 12.44 (a) or 12.44 (b)? | State Jail Felonies in Fort Worth

If you have been charged with a state jail felony in Texas, you may have been told to ask for a “12.44,” which refers to Section 12.44 of the Texas Penal Code and allows state jail felonies to be punished as misdemeanors. Here’s a look at the law and the difference between a 12.44 (a) and a 12.44 (b) in Texas.


What is a state jail felony?

State JailIn 1993, the Texas legislature created a new category of offenses: state jail felonies. State jail felony offenses are generally low level property or drug crimes, which are punishable by confinement in a state jail facility for a period of six months to two years.

State jails are low-risk facilities that are operated at lower costs than state prisons, which house inmates convicted of first, second or third degree felonies. Unlike time served in county jail or prison, a state jail sentence must be served day-for-day. An inmate cannot earn good conduct time or parole in a state jail facility, which is why defendants charged with a state jail felony often seek a reduction in punishment through 12.44(a) or 12.44 (b.)

What is a 12.44(a)?

Under Section 12.44(a) of the Texas Penal Code, a state jail felony can be punished as a Class A misdemeanor if a judge believes its in the best interest of justice after considering the gravity and circumstances of the offense and the history, character and rehabilitative needs of the defendant. A 12.44 a does not require the prosecution’s consent. The reduction does result in a felony conviction, but instead of doing six months to two years in a state jail facility, the defendant will instead face up to a year in county jail (where good time credit may be offered) or two years of community supervision (probation).

What is a 12.44(b)?

While 12.44(b) has the same two possible sentences as 12.44(a), it does not result in a felony conviction. A conviction under 12.44(b) is a misdemeanor conviction, which makes it very appealing to defendants. An offense that is prosecuted under 12.44(b) also cannot later be used to enhance other felony offenses. But unlike 12.44(a), an offense can only be prosecuted under 12.44(b) with the consent of the prosecution.

What’s the difference between Section 12.44(a) and 12.44(b) in Fort Worth?

Both  12.44(a) and 12.44(b) mean misdemeanor punishment for a state jail felony, but (a) will result in a felony conviction, while (b) will result in a misdemeanor conviction. This chart breaks down a couple of other key differences:

What is a 12.44 reduction in Texas?

Call an Attorney to Discuss State Jail Felonies in Fort Worth

Because a 12.44 allows a state jail felony in Fort Worth to be punished as a misdemeanor, it is crucial for anyone charged with an eligible offense to reach out to an experienced lawyer for help. Our team has decades of experience and a proven track record. Call today for a free consultation.

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About the Author Board Certified Lawyer Benson Varghese

About the Author

Benson Varghese is the managing partner of Varghese Summersett. He is a seasoned attorney, highly esteemed for his comprehensive knowledge and expertise in the field. He has successfully handled thousands of state and federal cases, ranging from misdemeanor driving while intoxicated cases to capital offenses, showcasing his commitment to preserving justice and upholding the rights of his clients. His firm covers criminal defense, personal injury, and family law matters. Benson is also a legal tech entrepreneur. Benson is a go-to authority in the legal community, known for his ability to explain complex legal concepts with clarity and precision. His writings offer a wealth of in-depth legal insights, reflecting his extensive experience and his passion for the law. Not only is Benson an accomplished litigator, but he is also a dedicated advocate for his clients, consistently striving to achieve the best possible outcomes for them. His authorship provides readers with valuable legal advice and an understanding of the complexities of the criminal justice system. CriminalPersonal InjuryFamily Law Contact