If you have been arrested or charged with a Felony in Austin, Texas, contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately. A conviction for even the least serious felony offense is punishable by up to two (2) years in State Jail and a $10,000 fine, with a possible probation term of up to five (5) years. In addition, a felony conviction on your permanent record could prevent you from obtaining employment, admission into college, from voting or owning a firearm, or from renting an apartment.
Austin Felony Defense Lawyer
As an aggressive and skilled Austin criminal defense lawyer, I will help protect your rights and guide you through the felony process from the start to finish. As your criminal defense lawyer, I will work hard to help get a positive resolution to your felony case. Call The Law Office of Kevin Bennett today at (512) 476-4626 to set up a free consultation.
What is a Considered a Felony in Texas?
All crimes in Texas are classified as either felonies or misdemeanors. A felony crime is the most serious level of offense in Texas. A felony is defined as any criminal offense generally deemed more serious than a misdemeanor offense. In Texas, felony charges are broken into several degrees as follows: (1) State Jail Felonies; (2) Third-Degree Felonies; (3) Second-Degree Felonies; (4) First-Degree Felonies; and (5) Capital Felonies. The most serious felony in the State of Texas is a Capital Felony which can carry life in prison or a sentence of death.
Common Examples of Felony Offenses in Texas
- Aggravated Assault – An aggravated assault charge is a second-degree felony but can be increased to a first-degree felony.
- Assault with a Deadly Weapon – An individual commits aggravated assault if the person causes serious bodily injury to another or uses or exhibits a deadly weapon during the assault (See Texas Penal Code § 22.02).
- Burglary of a Building – The burglary of a building is a state jail felony, and it is committed in a building other than a habitation (See Texas Penal Code § 30.02(c)(1)).
- Burglary of a Habitation – A burglary of a habitation becomes a first-degree felony if any of the burglars who entered the habitation had an intent to commit or attempted to commit or committed a felony other than theft (See Texas Penal Code § 30.02(c)(1)).
- Credit Card Abuse – Per Texas Penal Code § 32.31 a person commits the offense of credit or debit card abuse if he or she intends to obtain some benefits fraudulently by presenting or using a credit card or debit card knowing that (1) the card, whether or not is expired, was not issued to him or her and the user does not have the consent of the cardholder, or (2) the card was expired, revoked, or canceled.
- Drug Charges – Controlled Substances are classified into penalty groups based on their potential for abuse and harmfulness (See Texas Health and Safety Code §481).
- Evading Arrest or Detention – Texas Penal Code §38.04 indicates the elements necessary to commit the offense.
- Evading Arrest in a Motor Vehicle – Per Texas Penal Code §38.04, a person commits the offense of evading arrest in a motor vehicle when the alleged offender knowingly flees from a law enforcement officer when he or she is attempting to lawfully detain the alleged offender.
- Felon in Possession of a Weapon – It is against the law for an alleged offender who was convicted of a felony to possess a firearm after conviction and before the fifth anniversary of their release (See Texas Penal Code §46.04).
- Injury to a Child – Child abuse is defined as anything that intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence causes an injury to a child who is 14 years of age or younger (See Texas Penal Code §22.04).
- Intoxication Assault – The offense could elevate from a third-degree to a second-degree felony charge if the accident caused the victim “traumatic brain injury that results in persistent vegetative state,” or if the person injured is an on-duty peace officer, emergency medical service personnel, or a firefighter (See Texas Penal Code §49.09).
- Intoxication Manslaughter – According to Texas Penal Code §19.04 a person commits this offense if they act without malice and recklessly or accidently cause the death of an individual while operating a motor vehicle.
- Possession of a Controlled Substance (POCS) – The Texas Controlled Substance Act classifies drugs based on how addictive and harmful they can be (See Texas Penal Codes §§481.115 – 481.118).
- Rape or Sexual Assault – The offense can be elevated to aggravated assault. Additionally, an individual can be charged with sexual assault on a child or statutory rape if the sexual acts are committed on a child under 17 years of age (See Texas Penal Code §22.11).
- Stalking – This offense is common in domestic violence cases, nevertheless, it can also involve individuals who never lived together.
- Theft, Fraud, Embezzlement
- Weapon Charges
Felony Punishment Ranges in Texas
Penalties for felony convictions in Texas carry serious consequences, including but not limited to probation, lengthy time in State Prison, costly fines, community service, counseling and/or treatment, and a felony conviction on your permanent record.
State Jail Felony: Conviction of a State Jail Felony carries a punishment range of 180 days to up to two (2) years in the Texas Department of Corrections without parole and up to a $10,000 fine.
Third-Degree Felony: Conviction of a Third-Degree Felony carries a punishment range from two (2) to ten (10) years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
Second-Degree Felony: Conviction of a Second-Degree Felony carries a punishment range from two (2) to twenty (20) years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
First-Degree Felony: Conviction of a First-Degree Felony carries a punishment range from five (5) to ninety-nine (99) years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. The punishment may also include confinement to prison for life.
Capital Felony: Conviction of a Capital Felony carries a punishment of life in prison or the death penalty.
Enhancements: Prosecutors can sometimes enhance your felony charge to a more serious felony depending on the crime and your prior criminal record.
Austin Habitual and Repeat Felony Offenders
Under Texas Penal Code § 12.42, repeat and habitual felony offenders are subject to enhanced penalties and consequences for their current felony charge. A repeat or habitual felony offender includes anyone who has previously been convicted of at least one felony offense. A repeat or habitual felony offender may be subjected to any of the following increased penalties:
- An individual who is currently charged with a state jail felony offense that has previously been convicted of two state jail felony offenses, will instead be convicted of a felony of the third degree, which is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from two to ten years and/or a fine up to $10,000.
- An individual who is currently charged with third degree felony offense that has previously been convicted of a felony offense other than a state jail felony, will instead be convicted of a felony of the second degree, which is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from two to 20 years and/or a fine up to $10,000.
- An individual who is currently charged with a second degree felony offense that has previously been convicted of a felony offense other than a state jail felony, will instead be convicted of a felony of the first degree, which is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from five to 99 years or life imprisonment and/or a fine up to $10,000.
- An individual who is currently charged with a first degree felony offense that has previously been convicted of a felony offense other than a state jail felony, can face a prison sentence ranging from 15 to 99 years or life imprisonment and/or a fine up to $10,000.
Additionally, certain felony offenses can be increased to life imprisonment or a capital felony conviction if the alleged offender has previously been convicted of certain felony offenses.
Felony Defense Lawyer Serving Austin, TX
Travis County Prosecutors will aggressively prosecute felony cases in Austin, which makes choosing a criminal defense lawyer one of the most important decisions you will ever make. Whether you have been arrested for a crime or are simply being investigated, your rights, your freedom and your future are at stake. It is imperative to have the counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney as early as possible. This is why the Law Office of Kevin Bennett is intent on providing high quality legal services to those facing felony charges.