judge signing orderThis is the next post in my series on the handling of felony charges in Austin, Texas. My last article discussed what to expect when charged with a second-degree felony. Those facing second-degree charges should be aware that the offense can be elevated to a first-degree charge if they are a repeat offender or if the conduct involved a hate crime. All felonies carry the risk of prison so it is important that you retain an experienced attorney to help protect your rights. In this article I will be discussing what to expect when charged with a third-degree offense. If you or a family member are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a criminal defense lawyer.

Texas prosecutors must gain an Indictment from a Grand Jury in order to bring third-degree felony charges

Examples of a third-degree felony in Texas can include forgery, certain types of fraud, identity theft, soliciting a minor online, money laundering, and more. If you or a family member have been arrested then you will be brought before a Judge who will set the terms of your release and the amount of any required bond. The prosecutors will seek an Indictment from the Grand Jury. An arraignment will be held after an Indictment has been returned. At the arraignment, a “guilty” or “not guilty” plea will be entered and a trial date will be set. If a favorable resolution can be reached with the prosecutor then the matter will be resolved through an agreement. It is important to understand that few criminal cases actually go to trial. If there is a basis for defending the case, or if a favorable resolution cannot be reached, then it may be a better option to move forward with the defense.

The defense will have the opportunity to file pre-trial Motions once the trial date has been set. The nature of any such Motions will depend on the specifics of the case. Potential issues to be raised can include requests that statements made to police be excluded from Court. Requests can also be made that eyewitnesses be precluded from identifying the defendant in open court or that illegally seized evidence be ruled inadmissible. Your attorney will also use this time to conduct a thorough investigation into the case and will also engage in additional negotiations with the prosecution. If the case is not dismissed through Motion practice, and if no other resolution is reached, then the matter will conclude with a trial.

Austin residents can face two to ten years in prison for a third-degree felony

If a Texas resident is convicted of a third-degree felony then they face a possible sentence of two to ten years in prison. This is in addition to potential fines and the burdens which accompany having a permanent criminal record. These burdens include difficulty passing a background check, difficulty finding employment, potentially being denied housing, and being prohibited from owning a firearm under state and federal law. Retaining an experienced attorney can be a crucial step in making sure that one’s case is handled correctly.

As an Austin criminal defense lawyer, I am familiar with the handling of such matters. I practice in no other area besides criminal law and I believe that everyone is entitled to a vigorous defense. I pride myself on providing a high level of representation and I 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.