What is a 3G Offense?
A 3G offense is a special category of felony offenses in Texas which requires a convicted person to serve at least half of their prison sentence before ever becoming eligible for parole. Further, the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure (TCCP) requires that a grant of probation for a 3G offense can only be given after a recommendation by a jury following a trial. Deferred adjudication, however, may be given by a judge if the court finds it is warranted under the circumstances.
Because 3G offenses are those which the legislature and the courts have determined to be the most dangerous or violent, they are punished more harshly. In general, these crimes carry a higher potential sentence and requires an offender to serve at least 50% of their actual sentence (with no credit for “good time”) before the Texas Board of Pardons and Parole (TBPP) will even consider an application for parole.
Why are these called 3G offenses?
These crimes were formerly listed in Texas Code of Criminal Procedure in Article 42.12 Section 3G although they are now codified under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 42A.054. Although the offenses are no longer under a section called “3G”, they are still called that out of habit and as shorthand “legalese” which any criminal law practitioner or member of the criminal justice system will quickly recognize and know the repercussions.
What crimes are covered by the 3G designation?
Although the list occasionally changes, the following are those crimes currently considered as those which will require serving 50% of the sentence before being eligible for parole:
- Capital murder
- Indecency with a child
- Aggravated kidnapping
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Aggravated robbery
- Drug cases where a child is used in the commission of the offense, or the offense took place within 1,000 feet of a school or on a school bus.
- Sexual assault
- Injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual, if the offense is punishable as a felony of the first degree
- Sexual performance by a child
- Criminal solicitation cases that are punishable as a felony of the first degree
- Compelling prostitution
- Trafficking of persons
- Burglary of a Habitation
- Any felony where a deadly weapon is used or exhibited during the commission or flight from a crime.
Please note that many other crimes can be considered as 3G offenses by adding a “deadly weapon” enhancement, as discussed below.
Prosecutors can add a “deadly weapon” enhancement to any felony offense, making it a 3G offense in Texas. If the deadly weapon is found to be true or pled true, then the 3G restrictions outlined above apply.
What is a Deadly Weapon?
A deadly weapon is anything that is used or exhibited during the commission of an offense or during the flight from an offense that in its use or intended use is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury. A common misconception is that if a death occurred, then the deadly weapon allegation must be true. That is not true, and we have had juries return verdicts where a death occurred without finding the deadly weapon allegation to be true.
Is an Attempted Offense a 3G Offense?
A conviction for an attempted offense is not a 3G conviction for purposes of determining if the person is eligible for community supervision earlier than 50% of the sentence is served. Parfait v. State, 120 S.W.3d 348 (Tex. Crim. App. 2003) states that attempted sexual assault is not a 3G offense in Texas. However, the courts in Texas can overturn this case or choose to apply the enhanced sentencing under different circumstances or for a different crime.
Statutory Minimum and Delayed Parole Eligibility for 3G Offenses
If a person is convicted of an offense that is not considered 3G, they become eligible to be considered for parole when their actual time served plus any good conduct time accrued either in prison or the county jail equals one-fourth (¼) of the sentence imposed or 15 years, whichever is less.
This is considerably different than the time which will be served prior to the possibility of parole by someone convicted of a 3G offense. A person who is convicted of a 3G offense in Texas and sent to prison must serve at least half (½) of their sentence, including any time served in the local jail, or 30 years, whichever is less. There is no credit for good time, in prison or in jail toward the requisite 50% time. If the convicted person receives a sentence of less than four years, they must still serve a minimum of two years before they are eligible for release on parole.
An offender who received a life sentence has to serve a minimum but that amount changes depending on what law was in effect at the time they were convicted. Some will become eligible after one half of 35 years, some after 40 years is served, and others, under the new Life Without Parole, will not become eligible for parole at all unless the law is changed to allow parole.
While the concept of a 3G offense may seem daunting, it actually is very simple. For most people, if they are convicted of any of the offenses listed in this article, any violent offenses, there is a deadly weapon finding, or their lawyer advises them that somehow their crime is a 3G crime, then they will have to serve at least 50% of their actual sentence (also known as 50% “flat time”) before they will be eligible to apply for parole.
3G Offenses and Preparing for Parole
Finally, since most people come to TexasParoleNow.com because they have a loved one in prison who is trying to make parole and also because this website pays its bills, its writers, etc., solely through the sales of the book How to Prepare a Texas Parole Packet, we need to address how a 3G offense plays its part in making parole.
Certainly, whether a crime is 3G or not and what the implications of that are needs to be thoroughly understood before a defendant ever decides to accept a plea or make the decision to go to trial. However, most of our customers have already made this decision and are serving their sentence before they start thinking about the implications of parole.
As you can imagine, most of the people who apply for parole as a 3G offender are denied on the first and even second attempts. Many of these denials could be due to a failure to submit a good, effective Texas Parole Packet.
While, if you can afford it, a Texas parole lawyer can assist in preparing and presenting the packet. Unfortunately, many or most people cannot afford the fees charged by the Texas parole attorneys. In addition, the people who are not in prison and trying to help the offender often actually do much of the work required for the parole packet and just don’t realize it. By using our book How to Prepare a Texas Parole Packet, they can prepare the packet themselves using our tested and successful strategy, save the money, and often do a better job than the parole lawyer will do if for no other reason than that they care more about the result.
As we repeatedly point out in our articles, the parole process in Texas isn’t like it is in other states. There is no formal hearing where the person appears in front of the voting members and answers questions. Instead, three voting members of the TBPP are appointed to consider the case (along with many others). Two of the members vote and if there is a tie, then the third member votes and breaks the tie.
The voting members consider only the materials contained in their file. While we go into detail in our book How to Prepare a Texas Parole Packet, if the offender doesn’t submit anything then the voting members only consider what was provided to them by the Prosecutor and the materials contained in the prison file. As you can imagine, most of this material is not favorable to the potential parolee. Even the photos in the file are universally awful since they will have been taken immediately after arrest or, more often, immediately upon being processed into the prison system. The offender’s hair will be cut very, very short (almost bald), they look pale, and every picture I have ever seen makes the person look like they just committed a series of axe murders.
In addition, the file will contain “victim” statements, comments by the prosecutor, comments by the prison officials, and other information which is usually negative and, at best, is neutral.
A proper Texas parole packet gives the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles materials to review which are designed to have a positive impact on their decision.
Our book can be purchased as an eBook or as a bundle which includes both the eBook and a printed copy through our publishing site at Rebellion Books. This option will allow the printed book to be mailed by us, as a publisher we are allowed to mail books into the prison system, to the offender in prison and for you to have the eBook. This allows both of you to use the same information and strategy to get the best result.
Please note that the strategy for making parole begins the moment a person becomes incarcerated and continues through their release so it is important to order the book as early as possible. We also notify our buyers, by email, of any updates to the book and your purchase entitles you to free updates to the eBook.
Using the strategy set forth in the book gives the offender, even in 3G situations, the best possible chance of making parole as early as possible.