Fort Worth Criminal Defense Law Firm

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Texas State Jail Felony Good Time

Texas State Jail Felony Questions

Good time for Texas State Jail Felony?

Texas state jail time reductions

If you or a loved one is in Texas State Jail, you have probably heard about House Bill 2649 or HB2649. There is a lot of misunderstanding about release from a Texas State Jail facility and you need to speak with a criminal defense attorney that understands the Texas State Jail Laws. The most common question is “Whether a Texas inmate gets good time for Texas State Jail Felony?.” People have heard about “good time” and want to know how this applies to State Jail sentences.

A Texas inmate sent to serve a sentence for a state jail felony facility does not earn good conduct time for time served in State Jail, but the Texas inmate may be awarded diligent participation credit. Under the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Section 42.12 (as of the writing of this article, Oct. 19, 2012), if a Texas inmate participates in an educational, vocational, treatment, or work program while confined in a Texas state jail felony facility, and they have served 30 days less than 80 percent of their sentence (Amount of Sentence x 0.8 – 30 days) the Texas Department of Criminal Justice will report to the whichever court the Texas inmate was sentenced in. The report to the court will state the number of days during which the Texas inmate diligently participated in any educational, vocational, treatment, or work program. A Texas inmate that is locked up cannot dispute the contents of this report. So, a criminal defense lawyer most likely cannot help with getting you additional credit on your State Jail sentence.

Then that criminal judge receiving the report MAY give extra days credit against any time a Texas inmate is required to serve in a state jail felony facility for each day a Texas inmate diligently participates in an educational, vocational, treatment, or work program. A criminal court judge can only give credit up to one-fifth of the amount of time a Texas inmate is originally required to serve in the State Jail facility. A Texas inmate cannot get extra credit for any time during which the Texas inmate is subject to disciplinary action. Any time credit under this law is a privilege and not a right. This means it is up to your judge, and not your criminal defense attorney. So, your lawyer should not make any representations about how much credit you WILL get.

The September 1, 2011, change in law made by the Texas Legislature applies only to a Texas inmate confined in a state jail felony facility for an offense committed on or after September 1, 2011. A Texas inmate confined in a state jail felony facility for an offense committed before September 1, 2011, is covered by the law in effect when the offense was committed, and the former law is continued in effect for that purpose. The date of offense is determined by when elements of the offense occurred, and this can be complicated and should be discussed with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

A few misunderstandings:

  • A “House Bill” or “Senate Bill” is NOT a law. It is a PROPOSED law. A bill does not become a law until it is passed by both Texas legislative houses, the Texas Senate and the Texas House of Representatives, and the Governor “signs the bill into law.” The bill text will generally be codified in a Texas statute. So, referring to a bill number most often is not very useful.
  • “Good Time” refers to calculating a sentence in the Institutional Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDC), not Texas State Jail. What most people mean by “good time” in Texas State Jail is credit for Diligent Participation in certain programs.
  • A very common question and misunderstanding is which State Jail offense does Diligent Participation Credit apply to. This hinges on the offense date rather than the date of a plea. So, if a state jail is committed on or before September 1, 2011, the Diligent Participation Credit law applies. It does not matter when a case is disposed of or pled.