the firm with a fresh perspective
When a person has criminal charges brought against them, it can be a very unnerving time. The possibility of serving a jail sentence–perhaps a lengthy one–is very real. The full weight of the District Attorney’s office is against them. The person accused might have been pre-judged by their community. A Round Rock felony lawyer is the one who must stand in the breach, believe in their client and fight with everything they have in their legal arsenal to protect the defendant’s freedom and reputation.
Pennington Law PLLC takes pride in our fresh-thinking, solutions-oriented approach to each client we meet. We serve the English and Spanish-speaking communities of both Williamson County and Travis County. We offer free consultations and payment plans. Call today at (512) 877-4384 or contact us online.
Types of Felony Charges in Texas
The state of Texas has five different categories of felony charges, each with its own sentencing guidelines. The categories are as follows…
The state of Texas has the death penalty and prosecutors may seek it in certain types of murder cases. The D.A. must decide in advance of the trial if they are seeking capital punishment in the event of conviction. If not, a capital felony conviction can still result in a life prison sentence with no hope of parole.
1st Degree Felony
A 1st-degree felony conviction may also result in a life prison term. At the very least, a judge is obligated to issue a minimum penalty of five years behind bars. An attempted murder charge would be a prime example of a 1st-degree felony. The sentence here might also include a fine as large as $10,000 .
2nd Degree Felony
Jail time for a 2nd degree felony conviction will range from a 2-year minimum to a 20-year maximum. Fines at this level can also go as high as $10,000. Certain types of crimes can fall into either the 1st or 2nd degree category depending on the circumstances that surround them. For example, arson, on its own, is a 2nd degree felony. If a person dies in the ensuing fire however, the D.A. may escalate the charge to a 1st degree felony.
3rd Degree Felony
Fines can still be as $10,000, and a 2-year minimum jail sentence is still mandatory. However, the max time behind bars is now down to 10 years. A notable example of a 3rd degree felony would be deadly conduct with a firearm–that is, using a gun in a way that may not have caused a death, but was done in a way a reasonable person would consider reckless. If the conduct actually results in a death, a more severe felony charge may be the result.
State Jail Felony
This is the lowest level on the felony ladder, with jail stays lasting for six months to two years on conviction. Theft in amounts of at least $2,5000 might be subject to state jail felony charges.
Child endangerment is one example of a state jail felony charge. Endangerment can include being arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) with a child in the car. This, in turn, is one example of where a charge that is otherwise a misdemeanor turns into a state jail felony because of the circumstances.
The guidelines on what crimes might constitute a state felony charge can be flexible depending on the previous record of the defendant. A defendant with no criminal priors might see a misdemeanor charge. Whereas a person with previous convictions might see a state felony upgraded to a 3rd degree felony. The role of our Round Rock felony attorneys is to be up to date on how judges and prosecutors are using this flexibility and to leverage that knowledge on behalf of our clients.
The broad range of sentencing guidelines make this final stage of the process crucial. How sentencing is handled can be the difference between a defendant who will eventually have a reasonable opportunity to rebuild their life and one who will have an even steeper hill to climb.
A defendant’s previous record–if any–will play a significant role in how sentencing turns out. Judges are obligated to consider if a defendant has previous felony convictions, and if the current conviction is a defendant’s third, then Texas law mandates a minimum sentence of 25 years for a felony conviction. This enhanced sentencing is commonly referred to as the “three strikes and you’re out” rule.
Our Round Rock felony lawyers can seek to influence the sentencing decision by bringing forth character witnesses to speak on the defendant’s behalf and emphasize anything that shows they are unlikely to be a repeat offender.
Of course, even better than favorable sentencing is outright acquittal. The American system of justice requires that defendants be considered innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. A team of 12 jurors must unanimously decide in favor of guilt. Pennington Law PLLC is determined to leverage the advantages defendants have, to challenge the prosecution’s evidence and to make a vigorous case before the jury that our client deserves to be set free.
Call Pennington Law PLLC today at (512) 877-4384 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.
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