Sheriff’s Weekend Work Program
I wrote a blog a while back on the Sheriff’s Weekend Work Program (SWEWP) Program, so I get calls about it from time to time. SWEWP is a great program for individuals that do not want to go to jail and do not want to be on probation, but acknowledge that they are guilty of the crime they are being charged with.
What Is SWEWP?
This program is basically a community service program where you do community service and get credit for jail time. So technically if you end up on this program, it is a jail plea on your record (which is important because it could result in you losing your driver’s license in some cases like DWI and drug cases).
At the time of this writing individuals are given 3 for 1 credit for each day they work. So if you are sentenced to 30 days in jail then you will be looking at 10 days of work. Work MUST be done on consecutive weekends. You CANNOT miss any days. So if you have 10 work days, then you have to work 5 straight weekends without missing in order to successfully complete the program. Work is Saturday and Sunday from 7am to 3pm.
How Do I Get into the SWEWP Program?
You need a lawyer to help you. The first step for SWEWP is reaching a plea agreement for jail time with the DA. Once that happens then you MUST get the approval of the judge. If the judge rejects the offer then it is off the table. Once the judge approves, then you will fill out an information packet. This packet will consist of your personal information and contact information that they need as part of the program.
You will also need to read all the rules and conditions with your lawyer and sign off on the program. Once you sign everything you will go in front of the judge to enter your plea. After the judge accepts your plea, you will be fingerprinted by the court clerk and given instructions on how to pay your court costs.
You will then be instructed to go to 49 San Jacinto to the first floor, to the window with the “SWEWP” sign. There they will give you the next instructions on where to report, etc.
What Are The Conditions of The SWEWP Program?
- You cannot miss any days of work
- You cannot be tardy
- You cannot show up intoxicated or under the influence of drugs
- You cannot have any electronics or jewelry
- You cannot wear any inappropriate clothing
- You must be dressed ready to work
- You must be capable of working manual labor
- You must not cause problems while working
- You cannot leave early
- You cannot take food or beverages (they will provide)
What Happens If I Violate A Condition?
If you violate a condition they will send a violation report to the Judge on Monday morning following the violation. The judge will put a warrant for you arrest, and once arrested you will serve the sentence in jail. There are no appeals, and it is a zero-tolerance program.
So again, It is a good opportunity for those who are looking to plea guilty, but avoid jail or probation (if those are the only offers).
Eric Benavides is a Houston Criminal Defense Attorney. He is the founder of Benavides Law Group. He is a graduate of the prestigious Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Trial College and is a proven trial lawyer. He has been named a Texas Super Lawyers Rising Star and has been recognized as one of the best criminal lawyers in Houston by Houstonia and H-Texas magazines.