What is a 3G Offense?
A 3G offense is a special category of felony offenses in Texas that requires a person serve at least half of their prison sentence before becoming eligible for parole. Additionally, a judge may not give a defendant straight probation for a 3G offense without the recommendation of a jury after a trial.
3G Offenses in Texas
3G offenses are considered to be the most serious or violent, which is why they are punished more harshly. 3G offenses were formerly listed in Texas Code of Criminal Procedure in Article 42.12 Section 3g (which is why they are called “3G”), but they are now codified under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 42A.054 and include:
- Capital murder
- Indecency with a child
- Aggravated kidnapping
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Aggravated robbery
- Drug cases where a child is used in the commission of the offense, or the offense took place within 1,000 feet of a school or on a school bus.
- Sexual assault
- Injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual, if the offense is punishable as a felony of the first degree
- Sexual performance by a child
- Criminal solicitation cases that are punishable as a felony of the first degree
- Compelling prostitution
- Trafficking of persons
- Burglary of a Habitation
- Any felony where a deadly weapon is used or exhibited during the commission or flight from a crime.
What are the 3G Offenses?
Here is a quick list of the 3G offenses in Texas:
|Indecency with a child|
|Aggravated sexual assault|
|Drug cases where a child is used in the commission of the offense, or the offense took place within 1,000 feet of a school or on a school bus.|
|Injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual, if the offense is punishable as a felony of the first degree|
|Sexual performance by a child|
|Criminal solicitation cases that are punishable as a felony of the first degree|
|Trafficking of persons|
Probation Eligibility is limited for 3G Offenses
The Code of Criminal Procedure lists a number of crimes where a judge cannot give probation. An individual charged with 3G offense in Texas generally cannot receive straight probation from a judge, with the exception of some cases where a jury recommends probation after a jury trial. Deferred adjudication, however, may be given by a judge if the court finds it is warranted under the circumstances.
Prosecutors can add a “deadly weapon” enhancement to any felony offense, making it a 3G offense in Texas. If the deadly weapon is found to be true or pled true, then the 3G restrictions outlined above apply.
What is a Deadly Weapon?
A deadly weapon is anything that is used or exhibited during the commission of an offense or during the flight from an offense that in its use or intended use is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury. A common misconception is that if a death occurred, then the deadly weapon allegation must be true. That is not true, and we have had juries return verdicts where a death occurred without finding the deadly weapon allegation to be true.
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Is an Attempted Offense a 3G Offense?
A conviction for an attempted offense is not a conviction for purposes of determining if the person is eligible for community supervision. Parfait v. State, 120 S.W.ed 348 (Tex. Crim. App. 2003)(attempted sexual assault is not a 3g offense in Texas.)
Parole Eligibility is Delayed for 3G Offenses
If a person is convicted of a non-3G offense, they are eligible to be considered for release on parole when their actual time served plus good conduct equals one-fourth (¼) of the sentence imposed or 15 years, whichever is less.
By contrast, a person who is convicted of a 3G offense in Texas and sent to prison must serve at least half (½) of their sentence or 30 years, whichever is less. If the convicted person receives a sentence of less than four years, they must still serve a minimum of two years before they are eligible for release on parole.
In most first, second, and third-degree felony cases, an inmate is parole eligible after serving a quarter of the sentence. Certain serious offenses known as 3g offenses in Texas require an inmate to serve half the sentence before becoming parole eligible. These offenses are typically violent or sexually motivated offenses such as aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault or any offense where a deadly weapon is involved. An offender who received a life sentence after 1993 must serve at least 40 years behind bars before becoming eligible for parole.
It is important to remember that parole is not automatic, but rather, the inmate is eligible to apply for parole after serving a certain period of time. Some offenders, including those who sentenced to death or life in prison without parole, are never eligible to be released on parole.
Art. 42A.054. LIMITATION ON JUDGE-ORDERED COMMUNITY SUPERVISION
(a) Article 42A.053 does not apply to a defendant adjudged guilty of an offense under:
(1) Section 15.03, Penal Code, if the offense is punishable as a felony of the first degree;
(2) Section 19.02, Penal Code (Murder);
(3) Section 19.03, Penal Code (Capital Murder);
(4) Section 20.04, Penal Code (Aggravated Kidnapping);
(5) Section 20A.02, Penal Code (Trafficking of Persons);
(6) Section 21.11(a)(1), Penal Code (Indecency with a Child);
(7) Section 22.011, Penal Code (Sexual Assault);
(8) Section 22.021, Penal Code (Aggravated Sexual Assault);
(9) Section 22.04(a)(1), Penal Code (Injury to a Child, Elderly Individual, or Disabled Individual), if:
(A) the offense is punishable as a felony of the first degree; and
(B) the victim of the offense is a child;
(10) Section 29.03, Penal Code (Aggravated Robbery);
(11) Section 30.02, Penal Code (Burglary), if:
(A) the offense is punishable under Subsection (d) of that section; and
(12) Section 43.05, Penal Code (Compelling Prostitution);
(13) Section 43.25, Penal Code (Sexual Performance by a Child); or
(14) Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code, for which punishment is increased under:
(A) Section 481.140 of that code (Use of Child in Commission of Offense); or
(B) Section 481.134(c), (d), (e), or (f) of that code (Drug-free Zones) if it is shown that the defendant has been previously convicted of an offense for which punishment was increased under any of those subsections.
(b) Article 42A.053 does not apply to a defendant when it is shown that:
(1) a deadly weapon as defined by Section 1.07, Penal Code, was used or exhibited during the:
(A) commission of a felony offense; or
(B) immediate flight from the commission of a felony offense; and
(2) the defendant:
(A) used or exhibited the deadly weapon; or
(B) was a party to the offense and knew that a deadly weapon would be used or exhibited.
(c) On an affirmative finding regarding the use or exhibition of a deadly weapon as described by Subsection (b), the trial court shall enter the finding in the judgment of the court.
(d) On an affirmative finding that the deadly weapon under Subsection (c) was a firearm, the court shall enter that finding in its judgment.
What to do if you are charged with a 3G Offense in Texas
If you or a loved one has been charged with a 3G offense in Texas, it’s important to work with an attorney whom you trust. Discuss your options with your attorney so that you can make an informed decision without surprise consequences. For more information and representation, call Varghese Summersett PLLC at (817) 203-2220.
Call us at (817) 203-2220 for a complimentary strategy session. Our team of former prosecutors and Board Certified Criminal Lawyers are here to help. During this call we will:
- Discuss the facts of your case;
- Discuss the legal issues involved, including the direct and collateral consequences of the allegation; and
- Discuss the defenses that apply to your plan and in general terms discuss our approach to your case.
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