“Felony” means an offense so designated by law or punishable by death or confinement in a penitentiary. A felony is the more serious of Texas’ two criminal designations.
Texas places felonies into the five following categories, in decreasing order of severity:
All felonies are punishable by jail time and a possible fine of up to $10,000.00.
Capital: (The most serious felony) which is punishable by death or life in prison without the possibility of parole (punishable by life in prison with the possibility of parole if the defendant was under the age of 18 when the crime was committed)
Examples: Murder of a police officer; Murder of a child; Murder during the commission of another felony
First Degree: Punishable by imprisonment for five to ninety-nine years
Examples: Murder; Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon; Aggravated sexual assault; Solicitation of a capital felony
Second Degree: less serious than first degree, more serious than third degree
Punishable by imprisonment for two to twenty years
Examples: Arson, Aggravated kidnapping; Robbery; Manslaughter; Indecency with a child
Third Degree: less serious than a second degree, more serious than state jail
Punishable by imprisonment for two to ten years
Examples: Third offense DWI; Bigamy; Witness tampering; Kidnapping
State Jail: less serious than a third degree, more serious than a misdemeanor
Punishable by imprisonment for six months to two years
Examples: Interference of child custody; Evading arrest in a vehicle; Cruelty to animals
(Texas Penal Code Sections 12.04, 12.31-35)
Plea Bargain vs. Trial
Just as in a civil case, a contested criminal case can be resolved in one of two ways: (1)
settlement, or (2) trial in court. In criminal cases, the settlement process is often referred to as a “plea bargain.” The defendant may agree to plead “guilty” to a lesser charge to avoid a contested trial. This bargain benefits the defendant by allowing her to obtain a less severe conviction, and
benefits the state by conserving the judicial resources and public funds needed for a trial. Alternatively, the defendant may plead “not guilty” to all charges and proceed to trial. Often with the right representation, a less serious felony may be “pled down” to a Class A or B misdemeanor.
When you or a loved one has been charged with a felony offense it is undoubtedly very serious. You need an aggressive team that is not afraid to pursue every lead. A team that will pursue all legal means to try to get your charge dismissed or reduced.
For example, Anderson Legal Group commonly uses grand jury packets to assist their clients with pending felony investigations. While not every felony case is a candidate for this assertive form of representation, Mr. Anderson has had a high rate of success in protecting his clients from having felony cases filed. In other words, this tactic allows you to have an opportunity to have the case eliminated before you are formally charged with the felony offense.
If you have been charged with a felony in either Texas State Court or Federal Court, please contact us as soon as possible so that Mr. Anderson can discuss your options with you.