What is a Felony?
Felony offenses are a category of crimes in Texas that are more serious than misdemeanor offenses. Felony convictions all carry the possibility of over one year in jail, in addition to fines up to $10,000. There are different levels of felony offenses, and the potential penalties will vary depending on the degree of your charges. All felonies are extremely serious matters, and you want the right defense assistance as soon as possible after an arrest.
The following is a brief overview of each degree of felony offense in Texas.
State Jail Felony
This is the level right above misdemeanors, and the potential penalties include 180 days to two years in jail. Some examples of offenses that might be charged as state jail felonies include identity theft, criminally negligent homicide, DWI with a child passenger, animal cruelty, evading arrest with a vehicle, check forgery, theft up to $2,500, and more.
The next degree of felony offenses comes with a possible sentence of two to ten years in state prison. Some examples of these offenses include evidence tampering, indecent exposure involving a child, stalking, and deadly conduct involving a firearm. It can be more difficult to avoid prison time with a third-degree felony than with a state jail felony.
This level of charge has a possible prison term of two to 20 years. Some second-degree felony charges include manslaughter, robbery, arson, and aggravated assault. Many violent crimes are second-degree felonies.
This is a very serious type of offense, as the possible prison sentence is 99 years (life imprisonment), with a mandatory minimum of five years in prison. Aggravated robbery, attempted murder, and arson resulting in death are examples of this degree of felony offense under Texas law.
This is the most serious level of criminal offenses in Texas, as the punishment is either the death penalty or life in prison. If someone over 18 receives a life sentence for a capital felony, there is no chance of parole. Capital felonies include capital murder and capital felony murder.
All Felony Charges are Serious
Because the potential penalties for felony offenses involve prison time, there are additional criminal procedures necessary, such as a grand jury indictment or preliminary hearing that allows for a felony case to proceed in court. You want to have a skilled defense lawyer on your side before any of these proceedings take place. Sometimes, the right attorney can help to challenge the case at these stages.
We can begin building a strong defense as soon as possible to challenge the evidence against you. In some cases, we might be able to have your charges and penalties reduced.
Contact a Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorney
The law office of Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer Kyle Whitaker handles serious felony cases, and we can aggressively defend against your felony charges. Please never wait to contact us if you are facing either felony or misdemeanor charges in the Fort Worth area.