When it comes to criminal law, a felony is a far more serious offense than a misdemeanor. While most misdemeanors are punishable with some combination of fines, short-term incarceration, probation, or community service, a felony charge often comes with the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence in addition to other penalties.
Furthermore, a felony conviction on your criminal record could lead to automatic disqualification when it comes to certain applications for employment, housing, or professional licensing. If you are facing a felony charge in Texas, you do not automatically have to plead guilty, and you have the right to fight to mitigate these harsh consequences and keep this mark off of your criminal record.
If you or your loved one were arrested for any alleged felony offense in the greater Dallas area, make sure that the first call you make is to the Law Office of RJ Harber. There are numerous ways to fight back against these charges, including questioning the evidence against you or examining whether or not the police followed proper procedure when arresting you and securing it.
When you’re facing a felony charge, you’ll want an attorney with the right experience to represent you. Attorney RJ Harber was named one of the Top 40 Under 40 by the National Trial Lawyers. You can have him discuss all of your legal options with you when you call (214) 389-1189 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.
Types of Felony Charges in Texas
Some of the most common types of felony offenses we see in Dallas include:
- Felony DWI
- Drug crimes, including possession and trafficking
- Intoxication assault/manslaughter
- Retail theft
- Aggravated assault
- Child abuse/family violence
- Sex crimes
- White collar crimes
Texas penal code lists a wide variety of felony offenses, and the above list is by no means exhaustive. Rather, these are some of the most common felony crimes we see on a routine basis. Attorney RJ Harber has extensive experience helping individuals charged with these crimes and many more, so be sure to contact him if you or a loved one have been charged or are under investigation for any of these crimes.
Degrees of Felony Charges in Texas
Texas has five degrees of felony offenses, classified as follows:
- Capital Felony
- First-Degree Felony
- Second-Degree Felony
- Third-Degree Felony
- State Jail Felony
While the maximum fine is the same for many grades of felony offenses, the terms of possible imprisonment are different for each.
Felony Penalties in Texas
Felony offenses are generally subject to the following statutory maximum sentences:
- Capital Felony — Punishable by death when the state seeks the death penalty or imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole when the death penalty is not sought.
- First-Degree Felony — Up to 99 years or life in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
- Second-Degree Felony — Up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
- Third-Degree Felony — Up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
- State Jail Felony — Up to two years in state jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
It is important to understand that under Texas Penal Code § 12.42, an alleged offender who is on trial for a felony offense and has been previously convicted of at least two other felony offenses can face enhanced punishments. Such habitual offenders can face third-degree felony penalties when convicted of state jail felonies, second-degree felony penalties when convicted of third-degree felonies, and first-degree felony penalties when convicted of second-degree felonies.
Consequences of a Felony Conviction
As mentioned above, a felony conviction can have a lasting impact on your life and your ability to support yourself, move freely in society, and successfully re-integrate after you’ve served time. Along with a prison sentence, a felony conviction could include:
- Steep fines
- A permanent mark on your criminal record
- Denial of housing applications
- Inability to pursue certain jobs or work in specific professions
- Automatic denial of certain types of government assistance
- Automatic denial of application to certain academic or educational programs
- Loss of the ability to vote
- Loss of the ability to hold public office
- Loss of the right to own or possess a firearm
You Are Innocent Until Proven Guilty
While the prospect of a felony conviction can be frightening and stressful, don’t forget that you have a right to a presumption of innocence. A felony charge does not automatically mean that you’ll be convicted, and it is entirely possible to mount a strong defense of these charges and win, or at least get the charge reduced.
The burden falls on the state prosecutor to prove that you are guilty of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that they must prove that you committed every element of the criminal offense. This is a remarkably high standard to meet, and if the judge or jury has reason to doubt any part of the prosecutor’s case, the charges against you could be reduced or dismissed.
Contact a Felony Defense Attorney in Dallas Today
Were you or your loved one arrested for an alleged felony offense in Dallas or a surrounding area of Texas? You are going to want to be sure that you have a skilled criminal defense lawyer on your side who can help you avoid the costly consequences of a conviction.
Attorney RJ Harber defends clients accused of felony offenses in Dallas. He will do everything in his power to secure the best possible outcome for you or your loved one. Call (214) 389-1189 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.