What Are the Differences Between Misdemeanors & Felonies In Texas?

Texas Misdemeanors & Felonies, What You Need To Know

In Texas, like most other U.S. states, a felony charge is generally viewed as more severe than a misdemeanor offense, and the penalties for conviction are generally harsher and last longer for successfully prosecuted felonies. The main difference between the two is the length of incarceration and the severity of other penalties imposed on the defendant. Here’s what else you need to know. 

How Texas Defines Misdemeanor & Felony Crimes 

A misdemeanor crime is typically defined as one that carries a sentence of less than one year in a detention facility, generally in county jail. Misdemeanors do not include causing serious bodily injury to someone else. Some examples of general misdemeanors include the following: 

  • Drunk or drugged driving 
  • Petty theft 
  • Receiving stolen property 
  • Simple possession of a controlled substance 
  • Disorderly conduct 
  • Public intoxication 

Comparing Felonies to Misdemeanors 

A felony, on the other hand, is defined as a crime that carries a penalty of more than one year in prison. It’s commonly a major offense involving substantial physical injury to another individual or the illegal acquisition of substantial quantities of money. Here  are only a few examples of common felony offenses:

  • Grand theft auto 
  • Kidnapping 
  • Murder 
  • Manslaughter 
  • Sexual assault 

Penalties for Misdemeanors & Felonies 

Potential penalties for these misdemeanor crimes include a permanent criminal record, jail time, community service, mandatory counseling, restitution, fines, and probation. However, civil rights may be restricted as a result of a felony conviction. This can prevent a person from possessing guns, serving on a jury, or even practicing various professions. It’s important to understand the specific penalties you yourself could be facing and only a criminal defense attorney can do this. Your lawyer will review your case and determine what charges and penalties are most likely going to be imposed. 

Call an Experienced Criminal Lawyer Today for Help  

Whether you were charged with a felony or a misdemeanor, you need legal help as quickly as possible. Don’t assume that because a misdemeanor has less severe consequences than a felony that it’s not important to fight the charge as hard as you are able to. 

Contact a seasoned criminal defense attorney in Texas today to learn more about potential penalties and your legal options after being arrested for any crime. Reach out to Segura & Kiatta, LLP by dialing 281.570.6400. Serving Houston, Fort Bend, and surrounding areas. Call now. 

By : admin | October 30, 2021 | Criminal Charges

How Are Young Offenders Treated In the Fort Bend Criminal System?

Underage Arrest In Fortbend

The large majority of parents don’t anticipate seeing their child get arrested or be accused of a criminal offense. When this happens, many are ill prepared and unable to provide their child with the best possible advocacy. Here’s what you should know about young offenders in the Fort Bend criminal justice system.

Age Range for Juvenile Offenders

In Texas, minors who are between the ages of 10 and 17 can be processed through juvenile court. Once an individual reaches the age of 18, they are considered a legal adult and would be tried in a traditional court of law.

Crimes For Which Juveniles Can Face Adult Penalties

There are several crimes that are likely to result in juveniles being treated as a legal adult instead going through the juvenile justice system. Usually, these are violent crimes or offenses that have resulted in serious damages, like arson or the theft of expensive merchandise. The defendant’s age plays a role as well; younger defendants are less likely to face harsh penalties.

Other Ways Juvenile Cases Are Different From Adult Cases in Texas

You and your minor child need to know what to expect when you arrive at court for their hearing at the assigned date and time. First, you may be surprised to learn that your child won’t have their case heard by a jury. Instead, the judge presiding over the case will hear and ponder the evidence before issuing their verdict.

Another difference to note is that not all parts of the process are called the same thing, even though the processes themselves are similar between juvenile and adult court. For example, a minor is served a petition instead of a criminal complaint, and they are adjudicated — not convicted.

Although juveniles may seem to be at a disadvantage in court because they don’t have access to a jury, they are more likely than adults to be offered creative rehabilitation strategies versus lengthy penalties that don’t do much in the way of reducing the risk of recidivism.

Protect the Rights and Future of Your Child By Calling an Experienced Fort Bend Attorney Today

Being arrested or charged with a criminal offense puts your child’s future at risk. It’s imperative that you take action as soon as possible to protect their legal rights. A juvenile criminal defense attorney can help you advocate for your child throughout their case. Call 281.570.6400 today for your initial consultation.

By : admin | December 19, 2020 | Criminal Charges

How Can a Juvenile Protect Their Rights After an Arrest?

Underage Arrest In Fortbend

It can be difficult to remember your rights or act to protect them as a juvenile or the parent of a juvenile when facing criminal charges. However, knowing what to do when the police are investigating you or your child is often the key to a successful case outcome. 

Here’s how juveniles or the parent of a juvenile can protect their rights: 

When Police Are Searching Your Property

If the police want to search your vehicle or personal property, they must first have a search warrant signed by a judge, probable cause, or your express permission. This is the same for both adults and juveniles. Unlike adults, however, juveniles lose rights to their property against unreasonable searches when they enter a school building. If school officials or law enforcement officers have received reports that cause them to believe a crime or rule violation has occurred, they have the right to search your locker, backpack, and clothing for evidence without your permission or a warrant. 

When Police Are Asking You Questions 

As a juvenile, you do not have to answer any questions without your parent or guardian being present. As soon as you are taken into the police or school custody on the suspicion that you’ve committed a crime, you are allowed to request that your parent or guardian be notified and attend any interview the police or the school wishes to conduct. You also have the right to remain silent and do not have to say anything or answer any questions, even if you are arrested. This is the same right that an adult has to remain silent.  

When the Police Arrest You 

You have additional rights if law enforcement officers decide to take you into custody via arrest. Continue exercising your right to remain silent and do not consent to any searches. Juveniles are allowed two phone calls instead of one so they can contact both an attorney and their parent(s) or guardian(s). Juveniles also have a different due process than adults, and often hearings are expedited. 

How a Juvenile Crime Attorney Can Help 

Are you under the age of 18 and are facing criminal charges? Or, are you the parent or guardian of a juvenile who has been arrested? Get the legal support you need as soon as possible to protect your rights. Call now for more information or to schedule your initial consultation at 281.570.6400. 

By : admin | October 3, 2020 | Criminal Charges