Under the Texas Penal Code, there are five types of felonies, whose punishment range is as follows:
- Capital- either life in state prison, or the death penalty.
- 1st degree- 5 to 99 years in prison, and a fine up to $10,000.
- 2nd degree- 2 to 20 years in prison, and a fine up to $10,000.
- 3rd degree- 2 to 10 years in prison, and a fine up to $10,000.
- State jail- 180 days to 2 years in state jail, and a fine up to $10,000.
In Texas, a felony is defined as any criminal offense for which a a jail term of greater than one year, or a fine greater than $4,000, can be imposed. Felony charges arise when an indictment is handed down by a grand jury. In Dallas County, felony cases are heard in one of the seventeen Criminal District Courts of Dallas County.
Under the Texas Penal Code, most felonies are subject to a "statute of limitations." Unless otherwise specified under Texas law, the statute of limitations on a felony case is three years. For example, if you are arrested for "possession of a controlled substance, less than 1 gram," the State must indict you within three years of the date on which you are alleged to have committed the offense. For example, if you were arrested on January 1, 2009, and the state indicts you on January 2, 2012, your felony criminal defense lawyer could file a "motion to dismiss for want of jurisdsdiction." In the motion, your felony criminal defense attorney would argue that the court lacks jurisdiction to hear the case, because the indictment was not timely filed against you. Under these facts, the judge would be required, by law, to dismiss the felony charge against you, and you could never again be prosecuted for it. In addition, you would be eligible for an expunction of this charge. An expunction, once granted, would destroy any criminal history information regarding the felony case, and would allow you to deny that you had ever been arrested or charged with that crime. Though the general rule is that a felony charge must be filed within three years, some felonies have longer periods of time during which they may lawfully be filed. For example, the state has five years from the date of offense to file felony theft or robbery charges. In money laundering or credit card fraud cases, the limitation period is seven years. Furthermore, there is no statute of limitation for some crimes (e.g., murder, certain sex offenses). These charges can be filed at any time in the future.
If someone you know is under arrest for a Dallas County felony, call us at 214.699.7975. Our Dallas bail bond attorney can not only represent them in court, but also post their bond, and help them
get out of jail... FAST!
In any criminal case, felony or misdemeanor, you have an absolute right to a jury trial. If you are innocent, you can plead "not guilty" and force the State of Texas to try and prove the case against you "beyond a reasonable doubt." Felony jury trials are tried before a twelve person jury, who must unanimously agree upon a verdict. The U.S. Constitution affords all criminal defendants the "presumption of innocence." If the state cannot meet its burden of proof, the only lawful verdict at which a judge or jury can arrive is "not guilty." Sometimes, rather than going to trial, a defendant may choose to accept a "plea bargain" offer from the state. Plea bargains take many forms, but involve an agreed upon punishment in exchange for the defendant's plea of either "guilty" or "no contest." In felony cases, one possiblity is a "misdemeanor reduction." A misdemeanor reduction involves reducing a felony charge to a similar, but less serious, misdemeanor offense. For example, under Texas law, an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon case, a 2nd degree felony, could be reduced to a class "A" misdemeanor assault charge. Under such a plea bargain, the defendant would face misdemeanor punishment and might receive probation, rather than face the possibility of prison time were he to face trial and be convicted.
If you have been charged with a felony, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney. We want to help you! Our Dallas County felony criminal defense attorneys can represent and defend you against any Texas Felony Charge, not only in Dallas County, but also in Collin, Tarrant, Ellis, Rockwall, and Denton County. Possible favorable outcomes include dismissal, a reduction of your felony charge to a misdemeanor (known as a "misdemeanor reduction"), favorable plea bargain agreements, "no bills" by the grand jury, negotiation with felony prosecutors, and "not guilty" verdicts at trial. At Berlof & Newton, P.C., our top strategy is finding a way to have your felony case dismissed by the grand jury, (if a felony indictment has already issued, this is no longer an option), dismissed by the felony prosecutor or judge after the indictment is issued and a felony case filed, or win your case at trial. If you have a pending felony case in Dallas, Collin, Tarrant, Rockwall, Ellis, or Denton County, you need a criminal defense attorney who is knowledgeable about felony criminal defense representation. Look no further. The criminal defense lawyers at Berlof & Newton, P.C. can help. Call us now @ 214.827.2800 or use the contact form on this website.