Are you dealing with a criminal charge in Austin, Texas? You probably have no idea what to expect. As part of its system that determines sentencing, the State of Texas distinguishes between crimes that constitute a misdemeanor and crimes that constitute a felony. Whatever crime you allegedly committed must fall within one of these two categories. The category forms the foundation for potential penalties you could incur if convicted of the crime.

Your first consideration? You are innocent until proven guilty. Therefore, fight the charge.

Your second consideration if the State has charged you with a felony? Find an experienced lawyer. Never plead guilty to a felony without the advice of an experienced Austin criminal defense attorney. Former prosecutor turned criminal defense attorney Jason S. English has the necessary experience and insight to analyze your case, determine your options, and create a comprehensive strategy for your defense.

A charge puts you at risk of a conviction that includes potential confinement and fines, and other penalties. You also risk a criminal record that could make a negative impact on the rest of your life. Consequences start with the denial of housing and increase in seriousness to involve the loss of a professional license or custody of your children.

Here's an overview of what you must know about Texas felonies.

Texas Felony Crimes and Penalties

Felony crimes in Texas are more serious than misdemeanors and pose the most significant risk to your rights and freedoms. The State classifies felonies according to degrees. The degree of the felony provides the basis for the penalties you could incur if convicted of the crime. You can find these penalties in Tex. Penal Code §§ 12.31-12.35.

Jail Fines Felony Examples
State Jail Felony 180 days - 2 years Up to $10,000
  • DWI with a child passenger
  • Possession of a controlled substance (<1 gram)
Third Degree 2-10 years Up to $10,000
  • DWI Third Offense
  • Intoxication Assault
  • Possession of a firearm as a felon
Second Degree 2-20 years Up to $10,000
  • Aggravated Assault
  • Possession of Marijuana (50-20,000 pounds)
  • Manslaughter
  • Intoxication Manslaughter
First Degree 5-99 years Up to $10,000
  • Aggravated Assault
  • Aggravated Robbery
  • Murder
Capital Felony Life imprisonment or death
  • Capital Murder

While these are standard penalties, depending on the circumstances, the State can enhance them. For instance, in an enhanced felony for delivery of a controlled substance, fines can well exceed $10,000, and in some cases, extend to $250,000.

On the other hand, the State can reduce penalties with a reduced classification. According to Tex. Penal Code § 12.44, a state jail felony can be reduced to a misdemeanor that results in no jail time.

Remember, a felony conviction creates a criminal record. A criminal record results in collateral consequences, where finding a job, securing housing, or obtaining a loan or professional license can become much more challenging. The same outcome applies to misdemeanor convictions. However, unlike a misdemeanor, as a convicted felon, you can also lose your right to vote and own and use a firearm.

Felonies are serious business, and as such, you must take them seriously.

Comprehensive Austin, TX Criminal Defense Attorney With Previous Experience As A Prosecutor

As someone who prosecuted cases for over 15 years, Jason S. English understands the strategies prosecutors employ in felony cases to coerce the accused into pleading guilty. Before you plead guilty to any crime, understand your rights and explore your options for fighting the criminal charges.

Have you been accused of a felony in Texas? It's imperative to speak to a criminal defense attorney right away. When you're dealing with a felony charge, it's not an exaggeration to say that your life depends on retaining an experienced, innovative criminal defense attorney. Attorney Jason S. English recognizes that your freedom depends on his legal prowess in and outside the courtroom. Contact Jason S. English today at 512-454-7548 or online for an initial consultation and help with your protective order violation arrest.