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What are the rules regarding community service assignments?

On Behalf of | Sep 21, 2021 | Criminal Defense

Not all criminal convictions lead to harsh sentences, such as lengthy prison terms. In Texas, a minor offense could result in a requirement to perform community service. Shoplifting and drunk driving may result in orders to perform community service, and the Texas criminal code defines some rules regarding the sentencing.

Community service as part of sentencing

Orders to perform community service as part of a conviction or plea deal come with rules. For example, someone convicted of a Class B misdemeanor may not face a requirement of more than 100 hours or less than 24 hours.

Also, those convicted of felonies may face community service requirements. While minor crimes may be more commonly associated with mandatory community service, some felony convictions may come with an order to perform such work.

State rules also detail how a monetary donation may satisfy a community service order. Both charities and food banks could be recipients of the funds, and the money may prove more beneficial to the organization than someone performing community service work.

Exceptions to community service requirements

Community service is not “hard labor” intended to punish the convicted person harshly. If the person is physically or mentally incapable of handling community service work, a judge may not sentence him or her to perform the duties.

Other exceptions that may come up during criminal defense proceedings may involve hardships and other substantial reasons. Expect the court to request proof about hardships or physical ailments. Medical documentation or details about how missing paid work may impact a family could reflect examples of such items.

Community service may be one component of a defendant’s sentence. Fines and probation may be others. Even if the defendant completes community service, parole violations could lead to legal troubles.