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Parole: Who is Eligible?

Mimi Coffey DWI Lawyer, DWI ParoleMost of us who watch television or movies are likely familiar with the phrase “life without the possibility of parole”. We might also be familiar with the “death sentence”. But what exactly is parole? The easiest illustration, though not fully accurate, is that it is a type of probation.

Upon a jail sentence, the court sentences a convict to spend X amount of time in jail. For example, giving a 5 year jail sentence on a felony DWI. The way parole works is that, after a certain amount of time, the convict might be given parole. On parole, the convict is supervised by a parole officer and must satisfy certain conditions to remain out. Parole is never a guarantee, and many crimes are either ineligible for parole, or have long “waiting times” before eligible. Even if eligible, the parole board must still determine whether the convict should be released.

Who is Eligible for Parole?

The easiest way to answer this question is to start out with who is NOT eligible. Also, keep in mind that this post is very basic and there are some exceptions to what is below.

A person given death or life without parole is, obviously, not eligible for parole. Interestingly, though, there are a few crimes that are never eligible for parole regardless of length. In general, these include Continuous Trafficking of Persons, Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child, and some Aggravated Sexual Assaults.

Even for a capital felony, a juvenile cannot receive life without parole. In these situations, the juvenile is not eligible for parole for at least 40 years.

Life sentences usually involve capital offenses. But, some 1st degree felonies are also subject to life sentences. In most, but not all, of these situations, the “waiting” period for parole is at least 35 years.

Normally, any conviction for Trafficking of Persons means ineligibility for parole. However, if the State and Judge agree to allow for parole, it becomes a possibility. In those rare circumstances, the waiting period is the lesser of 1/2 the sentence or 30 years. However, the minimum time before eligibility is 2 years.

Some crimes have increased punishment if committed within a “drug free zone”. In those circumstances, the “waiting” period is the lesser of 5 years or the term to which the person was sentenced.

For most other situations, barring “3g offenses” discussed next, the “waiting” period is the lesser of 1/4 the sentence or 15 years. Medically recommended supervision is the main exception to this general rule.

“3g” Offenses

The “3g” offenses belonged to the now repealed section 42.12. However, the “3g” section of that statute now lies in section 42A.054 with much of the same language. This statute limits a Judge’s ability to grant community supervision. For the purposes of parole, however, this list serves to limit when the inmate becomes eligible for parole.

The “3g” Offenses, for purposes of parole, are:

  • Criminal Solicitation (of an offense punishable as a 1st degree felony)
  • Murder
  • Aggravated Kidnapping
  • Trafficking
  • Some Trafficking of Persons
  • Indecency with a Child
  • Sexual Assault
  • Aggravated Sexual Assault
  • Injury to a Child (if punishable as 1st degree)
  • Aggravated Robbery
  • Certain Burglaries
  • Aggravated Promotion of Prostitution
  • Compelling Prostitution
  • Sexual Performance by a Child
  • Certain Possession Cases

For purposes of parole, any offense involving a deadly weapon also falls into this category. Organized crime also falls into this category.

In circumstances involving the offenses or other factors mentioned above, the “waiting” period is the lesser of 1/2 the sentence or 30 years. However, the minimum term before becoming eligible is 2 years.

There are a few more case-specific exceptions. But, hopefully this post provides a very general overview of parole eligibility.

More about Mimi Coffey & The Coffey Firm

When people look for a Top DWI Attorney or Best DWI Attorney, they look for experience, certification, and respect in the legal community. Mimi Coffey is a nationally-renowned trial attorney, board-certified in DWI by the NCDD. She has been practicing for over 24 years and is an author of multiple DWI Defense textbooks. She is also a national and state-wide lecturer on the law.

The Coffey Firm handles a wide variety of cases, including Unlawful Carrying Weapon (UCW), Assault (including family violence), and Possession charges. We can also help you try to get a DWI off your record or avoid probation revocation.

Mimi is also listed on several “top criminal lawyer near me” directory listings such as Wise County DWI Lawyers, Tarrant County DWI LawyerDallas County DWI attorney, Collin County DWI attorneys and Parker County DWI attorneys. Mimi is a caring DWI Lawyer in Dallas – Fort Worth. She is also involved in the Texas Tech School of Law foundation and enjoys using the skills she has developed to give back to the community.