If you are facing a criminal charge in Texas, it is wise to hire a competent defense attorney immediately. This is necessary irrespective of the severity of crime committed. This guide will take you through criminal defense laws in Texas as well as the process of hiring a lawyer.
An In-Depth Look at Criminal Defense Laws
A criminal offense in Texas can be related to sexual assault, homicide, white-collar crimes like financial fraud, firearms and gun crimes, or driving while intoxicated. With this in mind, criminal offenses in Texas fall into two main categories: misdemeanor and felony. Misdemeanor crimes are further broken into three categories:
• Class A
• Class B
• Class C
On the other hand, felonies fall into five categories:
• First degree
• Second degree
• Third degree
• State jail felonies
• Capital felonies
According to Section 12 of the Texas Penal Code, criminal offenses that fall under the categories stated above attract varying levels of legal punishment. However, judges and juries involved in sentencing criminals must prescribe legal penalties within the acceptable “range of punishment.”
A good example to help you understand the meaning of acceptable “range of punishment” is a class B misdemeanor. According to Texas Penal Code, a criminal charge that falls under this category attracts a fine of up to $2,000 and county jail time of up to 180 days. As such, someone charged with a class B misdemeanor cannot be asked to pay a fine exceeding $2,000.
Moreover, he or she cannot be sent to a jail other than one at the county level. State and capital felonies tend to be applicable when individuals commit serious crime like murder or homicide. Such crimes could result in life in prison without parole or even a death sentence.
How to hire a DWI Defense lawyer
Hire an attorney who has years of experience representing people charged with offenses similar to the one you are facing. He/she will know how to handle your case including cross-examining witnesses.
Criminal case litigation can be costly. For this reason, consider cost before hiring a defense lawyer. Find out the amount of retainer you will have to pay or other payment arrangements.
Texas criminal defense laws vary depending on type of crime committed. In general, a criminal offense can be a felony or misdemeanor. When hiring a Dallas criminal defense lawyer, consider factors such as personality, experience, and cost.