From the 800 Line: Community Service and Jail Credit Rates

Art. 45.041 of the Code of Criminal Procedure tells us, in part that the “the judgment and sentence, in case of conviction in a criminal action before a justice of the peace or municipal court judge, shall be that the defendant pay the amount of the fine and costs to the state.” Although this is the judgment and sentence, we know that is not always the method of discharge of a judgment. Some refuse to pay. Many can’t afford to pay. There are two primary avenues of defendants to discharge or satisfy a judgment without payment. Often classified as “non-cash credit” within court software, the two methods were community service and jail credit. Both of these have gone through substantial change in the last handful of legislative sessions. It comes as no surprise that we have received recent calls asking: What are the current rates for Community Service and Jail Credit?

For a number of years, both jail credit and community service utilized the same number—when  assigning jail credit or community service before September 1, 2021, the minimum value to be credited was set by statute and was the same. One “unit” of either (8 to 24 hours of jail credit, or 8 hours of community service) were to be credited not less than $100. 

However, the 87th Legislature spoke and tipped the balance. As of September 1, 2021, one unit (8 to 24 hours) of jail credit must now be credited at $150. Art. 45.041, C.C.P. Eight hours of community service must still be credited as not less than $100. Art. 45.049(e), C.C.P. The amounts specified in these statutes are minimums, not maximums. Courts may still assign a higher value to either kind of credit if it is fair and serves the interest of justice.

Published by markgoodner

General Counsel & Director of Education, TMCEC

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