two hands holding jail barsThis is the next post in my series on the handling of felony charges in Austin, Texas. My last article discussed whether one will receive jail or probation for a first-time felony charge. While many Texas charges are probationable, it is important to remember that the Judge will have discretion as to whether they will issue a prison sentence. Retaining an experienced attorney to assist you can be crucial to your sentencing. In this article I will discuss dealing with state felony charges. If you or a family member are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer. I have been practicing law since 1995 and am Board Certified in Criminal Defense by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

Texas state jail felonies can result in 180 days to two years in state jail

A state jail felony is the lowest level non-misdemeanor charge in the state of Texas. If convicted, a defendant can receive a sentence of no less than 180 days, and no more than two years, in state jail. Individuals who are convicted of misdemeanors, by contrast, will serve their time in local or county jails. Examples of state jail felonies include, but are not limited to:

  • Theft of property ranging in value from $2,500 to $30,000
  • Certain electronic theft of health information
  • Filing a false business document
  • Failing to register as a sex offender
  • Failing to report an educator’s misconduct
  • Hazing which results in death
  • Falsely reporting child abuse or neglect
  • Illegal dumping of litter or certain waste
  • Certain offenses related to the manufacture or distribution of controlled substances
  • Worker’s compensation fraud

It is important to understand that many of these charges are often paired with other charges. Also, the charges may be elevated to a higher level felony if aggravating factors are present. Examples of this can include an individual who commits forgery as part of filing a false business document. Also, as an example, an individual who uses a weapon as part of a hazing which results in death will have engaged in “aggravated” conduct and will likely face higher-level charges.

Other consequences which can flow from these offenses include having a permanent criminal record, being barred from owning a firearm under state and federal law, as well as having difficulty with background checks. This last issue can result in disqualification from housing, employment, and other opportunities.

Retain an Austin criminal defense lawyer if you are facing state jail felony charges

If you have been charged with a state jail felony then it is important to remember that you have options. If your case involves search and seizure issues, for example, then your attorney may file a Motion to exclude any problematic items or statements. Depending on the facts of the matter, this may result in a dismissal of the charges. Also, it may be possible to defend the charges outright. Even if defending the matter is not practical, having an experienced attorney can assist you with possibly reaching a more favorable outcome. Immediately retaining counsel helps to ensure that your rights remain protected throughout the process.

If you or a family member have been arrested then contact my office today to speak with an Austin criminal defense lawyer. I practice no other area of law and my firm is dedicated to protecting the rights of the accused. We recognize that this is a serious time in your life and we will give your case the attention it deserves. We look forward to speaking with you. 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.