defendant facing judgeThis is the next post in my series on handling felonies in Laredo and other south Texas areas. My last article discussed whether first-time felonies result in jail time. It is important to understand that, while many felony charges are probationable, there is always the potential for incarceration. Retaining an experienced attorney is one of the most important steps you can take in making sure that your rights remain protected. In this article I will discuss what one should expect when they are facing first-degree felony charges. If you or a family member are in need of assistance then contact my office to speak with a criminal defense lawyer.

Texas first-degree felonies can be punished with up to ninety-nine years in prison

Only capital charges carry a greater penalty than a first-degree felony in the state of Texas. An individual who is convicted can receive a maximum sentence of up to ninety-nine years in prison with a minimum of five years. Higher minimum sentences may also result if the charges are “aggravated” by the use of weapons or other relevant factors. Additional penalties can include fines of up to $10,000 as well as bearing the burden of a permanent criminal record upon any release from incarceration. A permanent criminal record will make it difficult to obtain a job, to secure a place to live, or to obtain other items which require the passage of a background check. Finally, a defendant will likely have to serve a term of parole upon release. Violating parole can mean a return to prison.

Types of conduct which can be charged as a first-degree felony include sexually assaulting someone, the trafficking of children, distributing certain classes of drugs, injuring a person who suffers from a disability, engaging in organized retail theft, etc. In a typical case a defendant can expect to face multiple counts as prosecutors will often “stack” charges on each other even though all such charges would flow from the same course of conduct. An example of this could include someone who breaks into a residence to commit a sexual assault. Such an individual would likely be charged with burglary, for the breaking and entering, as well as a separate count for the assault. What charges to bring are within the discretion of the prosecutor and will always depend on the specific facts of the situation.

It is important to retain a criminal defense attorney if you face first-degree felony charges in Laredo

If you are facing first-degree felony charges then it is important that you recognize the seriousness of the situation. Prosecutors and judges will typically show little to no leniency to someone who is facing such serious charges. How to defend the matter will depend on the nature of the case. It may be possible to exclude evidence which was illegally seized by the police. Also, if statements or eyewitness identifications were collected in violation of the US Constitution then it may be possible to prevent their admission in Court. Even if such defenses are not feasible, it may be possible to reach a favorable resolution or otherwise defend the matter in Court. Speaking with a lawyer is the first step to ensuring that your rights are protected.

I am a Laredo criminal defense lawyer who takes pride in the level of service which my office offers. We believe that everyone is entitled to both effective representation and respect. Contact us online or by telephone today to schedule an initial consultation. We look forward to speaking with you.