Texas law makes community service a possible penalty for a variety of misdemeanors. When you have been convicted of a crime such as DWI, being a minor in possession of alcohol, or one of the relatively minor drug-related offenses, you may be assigned a certain number of hours in community service that must be completed.
If you are charged with a first offense of possessing less than 2 ounces of marijuana, you can likely work out a deal or even get your case dismissed with the help of a good drug crime lawyer. This is in exchange for agreeing to drug treatment programs or some community service.
Why This Penalty Exists
Some individuals have a difficult time understanding why volunteer work would be assigned to anyone as a punishment. They feel it should be something people choose to do for their own gratification. Some even worry that doing these jobs as punishment will give them negative associations in people’s minds.
The rationale behind these laws is that a person who has violated the law should pay restitution to the larger community. Crime affects everyone, not just its immediate victims. Serving the community can be a way for people to make up for what they have done.
Who Gets This Penalty?
Sometimes a person is assigned to volunteer work after being convicted of a crime. In these cases, other penalties, such as fines and a probationary period, are often included. This conviction becomes part of the person’s criminal record and can only be removed in particular circumstances; for example, when a minor becomes an adult, his or her legal record may be sealed.
People may also receive this punishment as part of deferred adjudication. This is different from a conviction in that the defendant is not found legally guilty of anything. Instead, a drug crime lawyer arranges a plea bargain with the court in which the offender remains on good behavior for a certain period and usually completes specific tasks for the community.
Where Can I Serve?
A few types of crimes require convicted people to help their community in specific ways, for example, a minor convicted of driving while impaired may need to support a program designed to reduce alcohol abuse among youths.
Most of the time, however, people are allowed to choose the program to help. Popular choices include animal shelters and park clean-ups because they always need workers, and the hours are flexible. Any type of work which will help others is generally accepted.
About Cole Paschall Law
The law office of Cole Paschall Law offers comprehensive consultations so that you have a chance at avoiding severe penalties for your suspected crimes or at least get away with lighter punishment like community service. Contact the law office of Cole Paschall Law, the best drug crime lawyer in Fort Worth, TX at (817)-477-4100, to start building a strong and impactful defense against your criminal charges.