What is a "3g" Offense in Texas and How Does it Affect Parole
One of the most common questions that I see on Avvo in the criminal area concerns when someone will be eligible for parole. In Texas, there are two major category of felony crimes: "3g" and all others. The category of crime is integral to determining when someone might receive parole.
What Is A "3g" CrimeThe term "3g" comes from section 3g of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. This is a list of crimes for which a judge (as opposed to a jury) may NEVER give a Defendant probation. These crimes include violent offenses such as murder, capital murder, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery. Violent sexual crimes like indecency with a child, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault and injury to a child are also "3g" offenses. Additionally, certain categories of serious drug offenses, sexual performance by a child, compelling prostitution and trafficking of persons as well as any crime where there is an affirmative finding of the use of a deadly weapon are "3g" crimes.
When Is Someone Eligible For Release On ParoleNo one can guarantee that a specific individual will be released on parole. I tell my clients that the only thing that we know for sure are that you will receive credit for time spent incarcerated awaiting trial. However, the Texas Government Code states that offenders serving time for non-"3g" crimes are eligible for parole when their actual calendar time served plus good conduct time equals one-fourth of their sentence or fifteen years (whichever is less). This is in stark contrast to a "3g" crime where an inmate is not eligible for parole until his or her actual calendar time served without consideration of good conduct time equals one-half of their sentence or thirty years, whichever is less. Also, a person serving time for a "3g" offense is never eligible for parole in less than two years. This is much, much harsher than the parole law for non-"3g" offenses.
What About Mandatory Release To SupervisionCertain inmates must be released when their actual calendar time served plus their good time accrued equals their sentence. However, an inmate who is serving time for certain types of "3g" offenses or who has served time in prison prior to the current for a "3g" crime is ineligible for mandatory release. This includes individuals who are serving time for a crime where an affirmative "deadly weapon" finding was made or individuals serving time for most sex offenses.
What Can A Family Do To Increase The Chances A "3g" Offender Makes ParoleLike I wrote above, no one can guarantee that an inmate receives parole. However, the family of an offender is permitted to hire an attorney to help with the parole process. Additionally, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles lists on their website the following factors they consider when determining whether or not to grant parole: the seriousness of the offense, letters of support, letters of protest, the length of the underlying sentence, the age of the offender and the offenders criminal history. If you are trying to help someone serving time for a "3g" offense in Texas, it is imperative that you understand the nature of their sentence, when they are eligible for parole and what you can do to increase the chance that parole will be granted.