Defendants often ask me, “How much time will I serve?” The answer depends on various factors, including whether you are charged with a federal or Texas case, have an extensive criminal history, and in which county your case is filed.
Federal or Texas?
Congress abolished parole in federal cases. Most federal criminals will serve 85% of their sentence. For Texas cases, the answer varies depending on the crime and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles’ decision.
For capital murder, Texas prosecutors can seek a sentence of life without parole. A capital murder defendant sentenced to life in prison before September 1, 2005, is eligible for parole after serving forty years. A release is not automatic. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles must vote to release the prisoner.
For the next group of offenses that the Texas Legislature designated as serious offenses, the defendant must generally serve half of their sentence to be eligible for parole. These offenses include murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, and aggravated robbery. Once again, eligibility does not mean automatically being released from prison. Most prisoners are not released when they become parole eligible.
First, Second, and Third-Degree Felonies
For other first, second, and third-degree felonies, the prisoner is parole eligible when actual time incarcerated plus good conduct credit equals one-fourth of the sentence. Prisoners earn good conduct time by participating in work and self-improvement programs. Disciplinary violations subtract good-time credit.
State Jail Felonies and Misdemeanors
For state jail felons, parole eligibility does not apply. Most state jail felons serve every day of their sentence.
The time you will serve for misdemeanors in Texas varies by county. In Comal County, misdemeanor defendants usually get three days’ credit for every day served. In other counties, a defendant may serve every day of the sentence.
Contact me for a free case review if you are charged with a crime in Comal County or other Central Texas counties such as Hays County, Guadalupe County, Travis County, or Bexar County.