If you are in the military, can you deploy overseas while on probation for a misdemeanor case?  The answer:  yes, but it’s not automatic. Over the past year, we have represented several clients in the reserves who have been called up to deploy to Afghanistan.  The biggest concern for each one was whether or not they would be allowed to deploy with their unit overseas if they were on probation.  In a few cases we just concluded, we were able to accomplish just this.

Contrary to popular belief, deployment while on probation is possible.  If you are on probation, one of the common conditions of the probation is that you remain in your county of residence.  However, most jurisdictions will allow you to travel for work, etc., if the probation department issues you a travel permit in order to do so.  In some recent cases that we have handled in Comal, Guadalupe and Hays Counties (all Driving While Intoxicated cases), our clients (two in the Army, one in the Marines) were able to get plea bargain agreements that would allow them to have travel permits to deploy to Afghanistan while on probation.

The first caveat, though, is that all of the counties involved, before offering such a plea bargain, wanted the client’s commanding officer to verify that the CO would also permit the client to deploy while on probation.  All of the counties involved also wanted the clients to get their probation stuff completed (fines, community service, classes) before they left.   If you are in the military and facing a misdemeanor probation, it’s a good idea to get your CO involved in the process as early as possible so that you know what you can and cannot agree to, as well as how any deal you strike will affect your ability to deploy in the future.


As I’ve previously reported, the status of the weekend jail program in Comal County has been up in the air for several months due to jail overcrowding. Because of a lack of bed space at the jail, the Comal County Jail has periodically suspended its weekend reporting program. As of now, the program is suspended, and neither of the Comal County courts-at-law are permitting weekend jail as part of a plea bargain agreement.

If you receive a misdemeanor jail sentence in the near future, you have two options: (1) serve the time straight, or (2) do house arrest with an electronic monitor. Unfortunately, you can only participate in the house arrest program if you have a minimum sentence of 30 days, live in Comal County, own a land line so that a monitor can be installed and have the funds to pay the probation department fees associated with the program.

A few days ago, Guadalupe and Comal counties announced an agreement by which the Guadalupe County Jail would begin accepting some Comal County prisoners. it’s still unclear whether or not this will make a significant dent in Comal County’s jail overcrowding problem, given that we have still not hit Summer, which is the busiest season of the year for the local lockup. On the other hand, the renovation of the Comal County Courthouse appears on schedule. Maybe the Commissioners’ Court can start housing inmates there.


One of our clients got some justice today: The Guadalupe County District Attorney’s Office has dismissed its Aggravated Assault case against Ernesto Garcia, one of four former Texas Lutheran University football players accused of assaulting a Incarnate Word University football player, Ty Warnasch, at an off-campus Halloween Party in Seguin, Texas, in October of 2009. Ernesto Garcia’s cases was dismissed, on a motion by the State, due to insufficient evidence, at a pretrial hearing held on March 9, 2011.

Jury selection had been scheduled to begin in Ernesto’s case on March 14th. Following an arrest by the Seguin Police Department in December of 2009 for Aggravated Assault, which was widely reported by local media in the San Antonio area, Ernesto entered a plea of “not guilty” and maintained his innocence throughout the subsequent proceedings. While the case was pending,

Ernesto went on to complete his education at TLU, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in December of 2010. Although we don’t think a charge should have ever been filed at all, we are grateful to the District Attorney’s Office for recognizing that this charge needed to be dismissed. I am glad that the justice system worked for Ernesto. I am happy that this young man will be able to get on with his life. Of the other three co-defendants, all originally charged with Aggravated Assault, two have plead to misdemeanor Assault charges, and one other, still facing an Aggravated Assault charge, is scheduled for a jury trial later this year.