This is the next post in my series on defending against felony charges in the state of Texas. My last article discussed the penalties for first-degree felonies in our state as well as the types of offenses that fall within that charge. It is important to understand that you may also face additional counts in addition to the first-degree charge. Retaining an experienced attorney is important to ensuring that your rights remain protected. In this article I will discuss the handling of second-degree charges. If you or a family member are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with an Austin criminal defense lawyer. I have been practicing law since 1995 and I am Board Certified in Criminal Defense by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. We look forward to speaking with you.
Second-Degree Texas felony charges can result in two to twenty years in prison
Examples of second-degree felony charges include arson, sexual assault, bribery, human trafficking, indecent contact with a child, as well as other forms of conduct. A defendant who is convicted of such charges faces a minimum sentence of two years, and a maximum of twenty, in prison. These minimums can be increased if you are deemed a repeat offender due to a prior felony conviction as the offense will be elevated to a first-degree felony. Such an escalation of the charges would mean that the minimum sentence would increase to five years and the maximum would increase to ninety-nine. Furthermore, a potential fine of up to $10,000 will apply regardless of whether or not the offense is elevated to a first-degree felony.
Second-degree felonies can also be brought as a first-degree charge if the conduct is considered a hate crime. This is true even if the charge is for a first-offense. Conduct will be considered a hate crime if it is directed towards a person on the basis of their race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, or religion. Consider the following example. Joe is upset after being asked to leave a convenience store and he sets fire to the building. Joe would be charged with a second-degree felony. Now suppose that Joe yelled a racial slur at the store owner while setting fire to the building and witnesses heard him make the statement. Under this scenario, Joe would likely face first-degree felony charges as the prosecution would argue that Joe’s conduct was, at least in part, motivated by race. It must be remembered, however, that the particulars of any charge will always depend on the specifics of the case.
Retain an Austin lawyer if you or a loved one are facing second-degree felony charges
If you or a family member are facing second-degree felony charges then it is important that you contact an attorney as soon as possible. The prosecution will take such matters very seriously and it is important that you mount a vigorous defense. While it is important that you recognize the gravity of the situation, it is also important that you understand that options may exist. Depending on the nature of the charges, it may be possible to exclude evidence due to an illegal search and seizure by law enforcement. It may also be possible to preclude the use of statements or eyewitness identifications. Depending on the nature of the charges, the exclusion of evidence may result in a dismissal. It may also be possible to defend the case outright or gain a more favorable outcome through an agreement with the prosecutor.
I am an Austin criminal defense lawyer who devotes his practice to protecting the rights of accused individuals. My office believes that everyone is entitled to respect as well as effective representation. Contact us online or by telephone to schedule an initial consultation. My office also serves the cities of Rollingwood, Round Rock, Elgin, Jonestown, Manor, Bee Cave, Lago Vista, Sunset Valley, Lakeway, Creedmoor, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Leander, and San Marcos, Texas.