If you are facing criminal charges in Texas, you may wonder whether you will face incarceration if you are convicted. If this is a first-time felony offense, it is crucial that you reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you understand the charges you are facing and the potential penalties.
First-Time Felony Offenders Can Be Incarcerated
Texas is like other states in that its felony charges are divided into different categories. Capital offenses are the most serious felony charges and can result in a lifetime sentence or the death penalty. They also divide offenses into degrees which range from first to third-degree charges and state jail felonies. These charges carry the potential of prison sentences ranging from 180 days to life in prison.
However, some felony charges in Texas can result in probation which does not require jail time. The judge dictates a prison sentence when a defendant receives probation during sentencing. Instead of serving the prison sentence, the defendant will be given a chance to continue their life in public under the supervision of a probation officer. If the defendant successfully completes their probation, the matter will be closed. If the defendant violates the terms of their supervision, the court may require them to serve the prison sentence initially dictated at the time of probation.
The type of charges involved will determine whether or not the defendant may be eligible for probation instead of jail time. Suppose any of the following conditions are met. In that case, the defendant will not be eligible for probation:
- The judge dictates a sentence of 10 years or more
- The criminal charge is listed in the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 42A.054
- A deadly weapon was used during the commission of the crime
A defendant charged with a capital offense cannot receive probation. Someone won’t receive probation simply because they are eligible for it. Ultimately, the court has the discretion to decide whether or not to Grant a defendant probation. When deciding on probation, the judge will consider multiple factors, including the following:
- The defendant’s criminal history
- Whether the offense involved physical harm to others
- Whether the defendant accepted responsibility for their actions
- Other relevant factors
When Will Defendants Face Severe Consequences?
First-time felony defendants face severe consequences in some circumstances, even if they receive probation and complete it successfully. These penalties include heavy fines, being prohibited from owning a firearm under state and federal law and having a permanent criminal record. A felony record can make securing housing, gaining employment, and maintaining a professional license difficult.
Discuss Your Case With an Experienced Attorney
If you or your family member have been charged with a felony, it is crucial that you discuss your case with an attorney. The best way to protect your future and freedom is to work with an attorney who will provide you with the most effective legal defense. Do not hesitate to contact the Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney at Abel Law Firm to schedule a free case evaluation.