When a first time offender is charged with a crime in San Antonio, Texas, we find that there is one thing in the forefront of the accused criminal’s mind: “Am I going to jail?!”
No, You are (Most Likely) Not Going to Jail
In San Antonio, Texas, first time criminal offenders are not going to have to go to jail as part of the punishment for the crime. Most of the time, the person charged with a crime will have the opportunity to do some form of probation, instead of doing jail time. This general rule, that a criminal will not have to serve jail time, applies to misdemeanor offenders (as opposed to the more serious felony offenders). Here is a page on the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony charge. You can tell if you have been charged with a misdemeanor offense, if you are set in county court, as opposed to district court. The paperwork that you were given when you bonded out of jail will indicate county court or district court. Again, the answer to the infamous question “am I going to jail” is “no” a good 90% of the time in Bexar County, Texas.
The Worst Thing that can Happen (1 Year of Jail)
In Texas, the worst thing that a misdemeanor offender can be sentenced to is 1 year of jail. However, the longest time a misdemeanor criminal will actually do in jail is 6 months in Bexar County. In other words, even if the criminal is sentenced to a year in jail, Bexar County gives what is called “two for one” time. This means that the criminal gets two days of credit in jail, automatically, for every one day the criminal actually spends in jail. Hence, at the end of the 6 months of jail time, the criminal will have served the full year sentence.
Again, the absolute maximum range of punishment a criminal can be sentenced to for a misdemeanor crime is 1 year in jail. If the accused criminal does not wish to have jail time, but instead prefers to do probation, then at least 90% of the time, the criminal will indeed get to do some form of probation.
In Some Cases, You Are Going to Jail
As with all general rules, there are exceptions. In some circumstances, even a misdemeanor offender will be given no choice but to take some jail time as part of his punishment. Bexar County is extremely strict about DWI offenders, and in certain courts, judges enforce the rule that DWI criminals will spend 72 hours in jail as part of their punishment. In cases such as this, you really need a good lawyer to give you advice and fight for you. The lawyer can make the difference on this term. (We help people with this issue regularly. Give us a call at (210) 271-2800). In other cases, even though the defendant is only charged with a misdemeanor, the Defendant is only offered jail time because of his or her long criminal record. It is always possible to fight for and to win probation. In the special and rare cases where you have to fight to stay out of jail, your criminal defense lawyer is your most important asset.
What if I Would Rather Do Jail Time than Probation?
In Bexar County, Texas, a criminal can always opt to do a jail sentence as opposed to doing a probation sentence. If the prosecutor offers probation, then the attorney for the defendant merely has to ask for an alternative offer of jail time. Some defendants would prefer to do jail time because they know they cannot successfully pay for and/or complete probation.
Now, you have been arrested, so you do need a good and affordable criminal defense lawyer in San Antonio (that’s me) (210) 271-2800.