In an effort to speed the process, Dallas officials have decided to start a specialty court just for property crimes. A stretched-thin system has many being held in jail for long periods awaiting trial and some feel this is working to the benefit of the defendants and the demise of the public.
Property crimes like this include thefts, burglaries, as opposed to crimes against other persons.
According to the Dallas Morning News, officials have identified about 500 individuals that are responsible for the bulk of major property crimes in the area. Many of these offenses are categorized as state jail felonies and would result in serving time at the state jail level rather than the county jails.
According to the article, many of these defendants are being told to reject initial plea offers by the prosecution. Because courts are bursting at the seams, these defendants may spend 6 months in jail before being given a trial date. By that time, the chances are good they will get “time served” and released without ever having to serve time at the state jail.
Apparently, all areas of the local criminal justice system have been working together to decide how they can cut back on the jail population. By fast tracking these property crimes through their own courtroom, they are hoping those awaiting trial in jail will quickly dwindle.
There is a common misconception among many that property crimes are not serious crimes. Quite the contrary is true, however. You can spend years in prison if found guilty of a property crime. A theft of more than $1500 can land you a state jail sentence. More than $20,000 and you are looking at prison time.
Specialized courts are commonly used in DWI cases and drug cases. This move to a property crimes court is new for the area, though law enforcement is optimistic about the potential outcomes. They, after all, are seeking tougher penalties.
If you are accused of a property offense, whether you are in the Dallas area or not, we may be able to help. Call today for a consultation on your case.