In Texas, the term “3G” refers to crimes that are considered to be more serious than most. As a result, the consequences of a conviction for a 3G offense are rather harsh. In most cases, probation will not be an option and you'll be required to serve at least half of your prison sentence before becoming eligible for parole.
If you've recently been arrested for a 3G offense in Houston or its surrounding communities and counties, you need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Call criminal lawyer Doug Murphy to schedule your free consultation today.
Why Is It Called a 3G Offense?
Certain serious crimes in Texas are known as “3G” offenses. The term “3G” actually originates from an old section of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure: 42.12(3)(g). Subsection (3)(g) enumerated criminal offenses specifically to be subject to harsh penalty restrictions.
For years, attorneys referred to the crimes listed in this section as “3G” offenses. Today, the code has been restructured and 3G offenses are actually found elsewhere in the code. However, the term "3G offenses" stuck and is still widely used in Texas.
What Are the 3G Offenses?
The phrase “3G offense” is used to refer to very specific crimes that were once listed in Section 42.12(3)(g) of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. 3G offenses, which are now listed in Article 42A.054 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, include:
- Capital murder
- Aggravated kidnapping
- Human trafficking
- Indecency with a child
- Sexual assault
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Injury to a child, elderly, or disabled individual (first-degree offense)
- Aggravated robbery
- Burglary of a habitation to commit a felony other than theft
- Compelling prostitution of a minor by force, threat, or fraud
- Criminal solicitation of a first-degree felony
- Sexual performance by a child
- Drug offenses involving the use of a child, and
- Any felony in which a deadly weapon was used before, during, or after the crime.
The consequences of a 3G offense tend to be more severe than those for non-3G offenses.
Consequences of a 3G Offense in Texas
3G offenses are particularly serious and/or violent. The reason these crimes were listed in a special subsection of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure was so that they could be punished more harshly. Specifically, 3G offenses are subject to certain sentencing enhancements involving probation and parole.
It is not uncommon for prosecutors and defense attorneys to negotiate plea agreements after you've been charged with a crime. In these negotiations, defense attorneys advocate for a reduction of penalties, including probation in lieu of imprisonment, in exchange for some sort of guilty plea.
If you've been charged with a 3G offense in Texas, straight probation cannot be used as part of these plea negotiations. All plea bargains that are negotiated and agreed upon by the prosecution and defense are subject to the approval of a Texas judge. Texas law, however, prohibits judges from imposing straight probation as a punishment for a 3G offense.
This does not mean that probation can never be imposed as a punishment for a 3G offense. Juries still retain the right and power to sentence a defendant as they see fit if a case goes to trial.
While judges cannot accept a plea bargain for straight probation (probation in lieu of incarceration), there are certain times when they can accept a plea involving deferred adjudication. Deferred adjudication is a type of probation that allows a judge to “defer” the entry of a guilty plea for a period of time. Judges may accept a plea bargain involving deferred adjudication as long as the maximum penalty for the underlying crime does not exceed 10 years.
In Texas, most criminal defendants who have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment can be eligible for parole after one-quarter of their sentence has been completed. In other words, if you were sentenced to 4 years in prison for robbery, you may be eligible for parole after you've completed 1 year behind bars.
However, 3G offenses are treated differently. If you are convicted of a 3G offense, you will not be eligible for parole until you've completed at least two years or one-half of your prison sentence, whichever is longer.
Example #1: Joe is convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Since sexual assault is a 3G offense in Texas, Joe will not be eligible for parole until he has served at least 10 years behind bars for his crime.
Example #2: Sam is convicted of compelling prostitution of a minor and sentenced to 3 years in prison. Since compelling prostitution of a minor is a 3G offense, Joe cannot be eligible for parole until he has completed at least 2 years or half of his sentence, whichever is greater. In this case, Joe will not be eligible for parole until he has served at least 2 years behind bars.
Defending 3G Offenses in Texas
Have you been arrested for and/or charged with a 3G offense in Texas? If so, your future is in serious jeopardy. You have the right to defend yourself against any accusations of criminal behavior, and the Houston criminal defense attorneys at the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. can help. Call us today to schedule a free case evaluation with our skilled legal team.
When you call, our attorneys will review your alleged crime and determine the best legal strategy for your defense. The state will begin to build its case against you immediately, so it is important to get started on your defense right away. Call us today to learn more about how we can help to protect you and your family from the consequences of a 3G offense conviction in Houston and its surrounding metropolitan region.