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Two Proposed Texas Bills Could Bring About Harsh Consequences for Defendants

 Posted on April 13, 2023 in Criminal Defense

texas defense lawyerTwo different pending new laws in Texas could significantly impact the process and the outcome of the criminal justice process for defendants charged with certain crimes in the state. One bill addresses who courts can deny bail to and the other bill would institute mandatory sentences.

SJR 44 – No Bail for People Accused of Violent or Sexual Offenses

SJR 44 would create a constitutional amendment that would deny bail for any defendant who was charged with a violent or sexual offense, under certain circumstances. The amendment would also apply to anyone charged with continuous human trafficking. To deny bail, a judge would be required to provide “clear and convincing” evidence that the defendant poses a serious risk to the community and that denying bail is the only way to ensure public safety. Bail could also be denied if there is evidence that the defendant is a flight risk.

Some of these charges could include:

  • Assault with a deadly weapon

  • Kidnapping

  • Murder

  • Robbery

  • Sexual assault

SJR-44 has passed the state Senate and is now in the House. There is a two-thirds majority vote required to pass the amendment, and if it does, voters will have the final decision in November.

Senate Bill 23 – 10-Year Mandatory Prison Sentence for Gun Felonies

The second proposed law would require judges to impose a 10-year mandatory prison sentence for anyone who is convicted of using a gun in the commission of a felony crime. The law would prevent judges from issuing a less severe sentence, including parole or community supervision instead of prison.

While mandatory minimum prison sentences were popular 40 to 50 years ago, many states have done away with them. Opponents of the bill point out that multiple studies have shown that mandatory sentences do little to reduce violent crime.

A spokesperson for the organization Families Against Mandatory Minimums voiced their group’s opposition to the bill, stating that mandatory minimum prison sentences shift the balance of power in a criminal case to the side of the prosecutor.

The bill was just introduced to the Senate on April 6th and will be winding its way through the legislative process.

Contact a Parker County Defense Lawyer

Although both of these bills have not yet passed into law, penalties for convictions in the Texas criminal justice system can be harsh. This is why anyone arrested for a crime should contact a skilled Weatherford, TX criminal attorney to ensure they have aggressive representation and an attorney who will fight to protect their rights. Call Soraya Joslin, P.C. at 817-599-7005 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.



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