Eligibility for Early Release After a Sex Crime ConvictionPublished: Feb 23, 2022 in Sex Crimes
Depending on your conviction and the details surrounding the sexual offense, you may be eligible for early release in Texas. But there are many obstacles you need to navigate to reach that objective. Here are the basics surrounding qualifying for early release, but you will be best served by discussing your case with an attorney.
Can I Serve Probation for a Sex Crime?
Community supervision, called probation in the past, involves sanctions, conditions, and programs ordered by a judge so you can serve a sentence while avoiding or limiting time in jail or prison. You could start serving probation after your conviction or after time in prison. It can be ordered for some, but not all, sex offenses.
Community supervision is not available for sentences of ten years or longer or those listed in state statute. Examples of ineligible convictions include:
- Human trafficking
- Indecency with a child
- Sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault
- Sexual performance by a child
- Aggravated promotion of and compelling prostitution
A jury imposing confinement can also recommend a suspended sentence and/or community supervision in many sex offense cases. The judge must do so if:
- You are eligible for community supervision
- You filed a written, sworn motion stating you hadn’t been convicted of a felony in the past
Though community supervision has challenges and restrictions, it is a far better outcome than incarceration.
Could Deferred Adjudication Keep You Out of Jail?
A plea bargain is an agreement between the defendant and the prosecution on the case’s outcome, subject to a judge’s approval. It usually involves a guilty plea to given charges in exchange for a lesser sentence.
Deferred adjudication puts you into community supervision without a trial, while probation happens after your conviction.
You would plead guilty or no contest (or nolo contendere, which states you don’t admit to committing the crime but admit there’s enough evidence to convict you) to a sex crime. In exchange, the judge imposes deferred adjudication.
Deferred adjudication isn’t always offered to those charged with sex crimes. Chances are better if you’re a first-time offender. To succeed, you would need to:
- Meet community supervision requirements
- Perform community service
- Attend educational programs
If you make it through, the case will be dismissed, and you won’t have a final conviction on your record, though the criminal charge will remain. If you can’t live up to your obligations, you’ll face the potential punishment you tried to avoid.
Can Parole Cut My Incarceration Short?
You wouldn’t be eligible if you’re convicted of a crime barring community supervision listed above. If it’s a different sex crime, you may be paroled.
Keep in mind, you don’t have a right to parole. It’s issued at the discretion of the state’s Board of Pardons and Parole.
How Parole Works in Texas
The Correctional Institutions Division Records Office of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) determines parole eligibility dates for all offenders unless there’s an exception. Depending on your offense, the portion of a prison sentence that must be served to become eligible varies.
The TDCJ’s Parole Division identifies offenders six months before their parole eligibility and four months before subsequent review dates if their first attempt fails and pulls the case file for review. Notices are sent to trial officials, victims, and victims’ family members.
An Institutional Parole Officer would interview you and prepare a parole case summary. A parole panel of three members will review your file and vote upon it. Two votes are needed for a final decision.
A panel member could choose to interview you and those who support your release or want to prevent it. Members must interview victims if they request one. The decisions are based mainly on determining what potential threat you pose to the community and the severity of your offense.
The panel considers:
- How serious your offense
- Letters of support and protest
- Your sentence length and how much of it you served
- Past arrests, convictions, probations, and paroles
- Job history
- How many times you’ve been incarcerated
- Your involvement in the juvenile justice system
- How well you’ve adapted to prison and your participation in programs
- Whether you’ve been disciplined while incarcerated
- Your current custody level
- Your age
- Substance abuse history
- Gang affiliation
In addition to general parole requirements, special conditions may also be imposed. Like probation and deferred adjudication, you risk spending your sentence in prison if you violate them.
Can I Improve My Chances?
Your ability to get probation or deferred adjudication in a sex offense case is limited because decisions are mainly based on what’s happened in the past. You can help yourself if:
- You appear to be honest and cooperative, whether speaking to a judge or the jury
- After a conviction, you communicate you’re genuinely sorry, and you made a mistake
You need to be on the straight and narrow while incarcerated if you want parole. You can’t control your past, so you must avoid being written up, engaging in crimes while in prison, and being seen as a threat by the correctional system.
Being compliant, engaging in programs, and getting psychological or substance abuse help as needed will help. Expressing remorse, admitting you committed a crime and harmed another could benefit your case.
Contact A Defense Attorney ASAP
Regardless of which sentencing alternatives may fit your circumstance, you shouldn’t make any statements or accept an agreement without a lawyer. There may be weaknesses in the case that could lead to a dismissal or charge reduction. A strong defense may also clear your name.
Serving Houston and the surrounding areas, contact The Law Offices of Ned Barnett. We will review the details, discuss your options, and pursue the best possible outcome, including alternatives to prison. Call 713-222-6767 or use our online contact form for a free consultation.