Reducing State Jail Felony Charge

What is a State Jail Felony?

In 1993, Texas created a lower level felony conviction called a “State Jail Felony”. This was done to put offenders charged with nonviolent offenses into state jails instead of with offenders convicted of violent crimes. A State Jail Felony is the lowest felony conviction an offender can be charged with in the state of Texas. The difference between a State Jail Felony and other felony convictions is the amount of time served; those charged with State Jail Felony convictions typically serve 180 days to 2 years in a Texas State Jail, and/or fined up to $10,000. In some cases, a State Jail Felony drug charge requires a mandatory probation period. Compared to a third degree felony charge, where an offender can be sentenced to serve 2 to 10 years, and/or a fine of up to $10,000. While the sentencing period is shorter, a State Jail Felony is still seen as a felony. If convicted, you lose the same rights you would lose with any other felony conviction.

A felony conviction can be devastating for you, your family and your future. It can impact your right to vote, and even where you work. That’s why you need a skilled criminal attorney to defend your rights. At Matthew Pillado PLLC our criminal defense attorneys will aggressively fight to get your charges reduced or dropped all together.

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How can I reduce my State Jail Felony charge?

A State Jail Felony charge can be reduced to a Class A Misdemeanor according to Texas Penal Code section 12.44. In legal terms, this is known as a 12.44 Reduction. The 12.44 Reduction is actually two ways to reduce a State Jail Felony charge to a Class A misdemeanor sentencing. Where the two differ is how the charge is seen in the eyes of the law.


(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.

Under 12.44(a), The court may punish a State Jail Felony offender with a Class A misdemeanor punishment after considering: the circumstances under which the felony was committed, background history, the offender’s character, and the chance of rehabilitation. However, this reduction still results in a felony conviction and can enhance punishment for other felony convictions.


(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.

Under 12.44(b), The prosecution can request to prosecute a State Jail Felony as a Class A misdemeanor, if given authorization by the court. Unlike the 12.44(a) reduction, the 12.44(b) reduction results in the State Jail Felony being reduced to a Class A misdemeanor. Under a 12.44(b) reduction, a State Jail Felony cannot be used to enhance penalties for other felony convictions.

A 12.44 reduction, A or B, can be a complex and confusing process to navigate through. Trust the dedicated criminal attorneys at Matthew Pillado PLLC to help you at every step of the legal process. Our experienced criminal defense lawyers will use their years of knowledge and hard work to fight for your rights. Call our office at 800-672-3911 to set up your Free consultation.

What is the punishment for a State Jail Felony?

The punishment for a State Jail Felony is 180 days to 2 years in a Texas State Jail, and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Unlike other felony convictions, there is no option for parole or early release. Some offenders may qualify for the “Diligent Participation Credit”, but this program is discretionary to the specific sentencing judge. Otherwise, offenders must serve the entire sentencing period.

State Jail Felony offenses may include:

  • Possession of marijuana, More than 4 ounces, but less than 5 pounds
  • Possession of a controlled substance under one gram
  • DWI with a child Passenger
  • Criminally Negligent Homicide
  • Aiding Suicide
  • Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle

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