This session the Texas legislature is considering reducing the punishment of possession of less then a gram of a penalty group 3 drug like cocaine from a state jail felony to a misdemeanor. In fact, Judge McSpadden, presiding judge of the 209th District Court of Harris County, has been promoting this change in the past and now has the support of his colleagues. Unfortunately, the Harris County District Attorney's Office does not agree. Our elected District Attorney has a bigger picture in mind. That sounds very comforting, but most people want instant results. If she is concerned about jail overcrowding how about using the tool that the Texas legislature has already given them in the form of "12.44" punishment more readily.
Sec. 12.44. REDUCTION OF STATE JAIL FELONY PUNISHMENT TO MISDEMEANOR PUNISHMENT. (a) A court may punish a defendant who is convicted of a state jail felony by imposing the confinement permissible as punishment for a Class A misdemeanor if, after considering the gravity and circumstances of the felony committed and the history, character, and rehabilitative needs of the defendant, the court finds that such punishment would best serve the ends of justice.
(b) 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.
It is a shame that prosecutors in Harris County, Texas dismiss more cases than offering a "12.44(b)." Surprisingly, new felony prosecutors feel like there is an office policy against this type of punishment. I have never know this to be the case, but most prosecutors are extremely reluctant to extend the offer and are surprised when I request one. I have never known a real reason for this other then "we do not do that in Harris County." The jail overcrowding issue could be addressed by implementing a new attitude towards 12.44(b) punishment and accepting charges for low level marijuana charges when a police officer decides to give someone a citation to appear for court instead of arresting them.
If your need assistance with your drug charges in Texas please contact our law firm at (713) 242-1779 or visit our website at http://www.martinezlawhouston.com.