A former Galveston police officer who this week pleaded guilty to violating a bond agreement several times after being arrested on domestic violence charges in 2020 won’t serve any time in prison, a judge ruled Friday.
District Court Judge Patricia Grady on Friday granted Justin Popovich, 40, of Galveston, a deferred sentence, according to court records.
The Galveston County District Attorney’s Office recommended Popovich be sentenced to five years in prison.
Popovich pleaded guilty Wednesday to a felony charge of continuous bond violations. He was arrested in April 2020 and accused of violating terms from a separate domestic violence charge earlier in the year.
Popovich pleaded guilty to repeatedly calling and texting the woman he was accused of hurting, going to her home and her parents’ home and possessing a firearm while out on bond.
A jury earlier this year found Popovich not guilty on the domestic violence charge. Prosecutors this week dropped a stalking charge against him; instead they chose to pursue the bond violation charges.
Under the conditions of the sentence, Popovich will be on probation for three years, according to court documents. During that time, he will have to check in with a probation officer, perform community service and attend anger-management classes. He can’t communicate with the woman who made the domestic violence complaint against him and must attend a domestic violence prevention program.
If he completes his probation without incident, his conviction would be dismissed. If he violates the terms of his probation, he could be sent to prison.
Popovich was indefinitely suspended from his position as a Galveston Police Department sergeant in April 2020. An indefinite suspension is equivalent to being fired, though there are situations where an officer can appeal a suspension and return to work.
Popovich has appealed his suspension, the City of Galveston said on Friday. The appeal was postponed until his criminal trial concluded, the city said.
Under Texas licensing rules for police officers, the license of a person charged with a felony and placed on community supervision can be suspended for up to 30 years. A spokesperson for the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement said Thursday that Popovich’s licenses hadn’t yet been reviewed and that a review would begin after his case was fully adjudicated.