Felonies are more serious than misdemeanors and typically involve violent crimes. Penalties for felonies in Texas can range from imprisonment to the death sentence. Even a “minor” felony can result in a permanent criminal record, which can make it difficult to find a job and live as a productive member of society. If you’re facing a felony charge, don’t hesitate to hire an attorney. You need proper legal representation in these delicate cases.
Types of Felonies in Texas
Texas law classifies felonies into four categories according to their seriousness and type of penalties. First-degree felonies are the most serious and can result in prison time (no more than 99 years and no less than five years) and/or fines of up to $10,000. Second-degree felonies are subject to punishment by imprisonment of no more than 20 years and fines of up to $10,000. Third-degree felonies are punishable with up to 10 years in state prison and $10,000 in fines. A fourth-degree felony, the least serious, is punishable with 180 days to two years in custody and a fine of up to $10,000.
First-degree felonies may include murder, aggravated robbery, theft of $200,000 or more, or arson that results in injury or death. Fourth-degree felonies are crimes such as check forgery or burglary. All felony convictions wind up on the person’s permanent record. However, Texas has a public policy that allows criminal records to be sealed from public viewing. This law can help convicted individuals lead more productive lives. This is only available to those with convictions the court dismissed, reversed, acquitted, or legally pardoned.
Defenses to Felony Charges
When considering your possible routes for defense in a case involving felony charges, work closely with a skilled criminal defense attorney. Each situation is unique and requires individualized attention from a Houston attorney. It is not wise to attempt to represent yourself in a felony charge case. Instead, trust our team for capable legal representation. Possible defenses in a felony case include:
- The prosecution does not have enough evidence. The justice system in Texas abides by the rule of “innocent until proven guilty.” Thus, the prosecution must convince the jury that the suspect is guilty beyond reasonable doubt. The courts may acquit a case in which the prosecution fails to present enough evidence to prove the suspect’s guilt.
- The defendant has an alibi. In cases wherein the prosecution has misidentified the suspect, the suspect may have an alibi that proves his or her innocence. This can include eyewitness accounts of the suspect at a different place or security camera footage of the suspect elsewhere at the time of the crime.
- The defendant committed the crime while under the influence. In some cases, the suspect may plead guilty but still have a defense theory. One example is that drugs and/or alcohol so impaired the suspect that the courts cannot hold him or her accountable for the actions in question. Intoxication, however, does not automatically excuse criminal conduct.
The only way to learn your rights and potential defenses in a felony case is to speak to an attorney. Felony cases can easily become complex, with many different laws and factors the courts must consider. Improve your chances of a desirable outcome or even an acquittal with the right lawyer by your side.
Meet With an Attorney in Houston Today
If you or a loved one is facing felony charges, there is no time to waste. Contact our firm as soon as possible to discuss your case. Our team will speak with you in person or over the phone about your possible options. If we decide to represent your case, we can begin the defense process right away. Call to schedule your consultation.