Through associations and connections with smart and experienced attorneys throughout Texas, our firm is able to provide a Houston felony lawyer to mount a defense against all types of criminal charges.
If you were accused of criminal violations and are in need of legal representation and counsel, you could be facing the most serious of felonies. These may include aggravated robbery, organized theft, and even federal offenses such as white-collar crimes. No matter the circumstances, the Law Office of Joseph Ruiz, PLLC, is able to consult and defend you.
Felonies are more serious than misdemeanors because they usually involve an element of violence or intended harm against another. Federal criminal cases are those that break federal statutes or crimes that approach the federal level of severity. The following are the five different categories of felonies and their punishment ranges in Texas state court:
State jail felonies: offenses within this category are the least severe. Offenses include felony DWI in which a minor was present, interfering with child custody, grand theft of more than $1,500-2,500 but not exceeding $20,000-30,000, forging a check, evading arrest, sexual coercion, homicide by criminal negligence, possessing or delivering drug paraphernalia, and other felonies with unspecified degree assignments.
Penalties include 180 days to 2 years in state jail, although probation is often allowed for these offenses. Additionally, you may pay up to $10,000 in fines.
3rd-degree felonies: This is the next denomination of crimes, and the consequences are more serious. Punishment ranges from 2 to 10 years in prison, fines of up to $10,000, and there’s a potential for strict probation with accompanying rules.
Crimes of this rank include intoxication assault such as a DWI resulting in serious bodily injury, any third DWI charge, possessing between 5-50 pounds of marijuana, stalking, assault, deadly conduct such as improper weapon handling, infringing the terms of a sex offender program, kidnapping, and people smuggling. Other 3rd-degree felonies include child abandonment, indecent exposure to a minor, and falsely reporting child neglect or abuse.
2nd-degree felonies: The next most grave category of crimes has penalties of 2 to 20 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Some examples are cases of bribery, robbery, organized theft, arson, manslaughter (including when DWI), aggravated assault, sexual assault or rape, aggravated kidnapping, and human trafficking.
1st-degree felonies: These criminal offenses typically include aggravated crimes such as aggravated robbery, aggravated sexual assault, attempted and actualized murder, fatal arson, and continuous human trafficking. Punishments for these convictions include 5 to 99 years/life in prison with up to $10,000 in fines. If there’s no previous criminal history, probation may be granted if strict guidelines are followed prior to release.
Capital felonies: This categorization is reserved for cases of capital murder: murder with an aggravating factor or special circumstances that deem the case as potentially deserving of capital punishment.
Some instances include the intentional murder of a law enforcement officer or fireman who’s lawfully carrying out their duty, murder for monetary exchange or paying another to kill, murdering children under ten years old, murdering more than one individual during a single felony act, or committing murder over multiple related events for a single criminal pursuit.
Capital murder also encompasses intentional murders during situations such as:
If the offender is younger than 18, their sentence is life in prison. If 18 or older, they are subject to the death penalty or life in prison without parole.
Crimes concerning involvement in the trafficking of controlled substances can be considered to be any of the above felony categorizations. The charge depends on which class of drugs and the amount of the substance in question. Cases with large enough amounts to be considered a felony may serve 10 or 15 to 99 years in prison and pay fines upwards of $100,000-250,000.
Federal felonies are a separate category. These federal-level offenses are tried in federal courts and require an attorney well-versed in the specific procedures and outcomes that come with them. Some examples include certain sex offenses, violating a person’s civil rights, identity theft, illegal firearm possession, various kinds of fraud, tax evasion, and criminal conspiracy to commit a federal crime.
Multiple prior felony convictions have the ability to increase the deemed degree of the felony and, thus, the severity of punishment. For example, a second-degree felony could be deemed a first-degree felony if there are prior felony convictions and result in first-degree penalties.
A felony record can also hinder your life even after serving prison time and paying costly fines. It can prohibit the ease or success of finding employment, higher education, and housing. Felons may also be barred from certain professional licenses, qualifying for government programs and benefits, school scholarships, gun ownership, and the right to vote and serve in public office or on a jury.
A: A defense attorney’s hourly rate can vary based on their experience, reputation, and location. Felony lawyers handling the more serious end of felony crimes tend to charge higher as well. The average cost is around $200-350 an hour, so total expenses will depend on the amount of time it takes to work on your particular case.
A: A federal attorney is a professional who is educated and experienced in representing defendants within the federal courts. Federal court has different standards with respect to procedures, rules, acceptable evidence, and sentencing policies. In the event you have committed a federal felony, you should seek a criminal defense lawyer who understands the applicable laws and how to conduct a defense in federal court.
A: A federal defense is carried out by a federal crime defense attorney on behalf of the accused defendant within a federal court setting. The lawyer attempts earnestly to prove their innocence or insufficient cause or evidence of the accused crimes. The attorney may argue certain evidence was acquired incorrectly or is otherwise inadmissible in the court proceedings, among other defenses and establishing accurate facts.
A: A case is “made federal” instead of the various degrees of a felony when certain offenses are committed, such as breaking federal laws or reaching a federal level of a violation beyond the state. Some federal crimes include criminal conspiracy, aiding and abetting, various frauds or conspiracy to commit fraud, identity theft, tax evasion, providing untrue information to the government, money laundering, and computer crimes.
You can schedule a confidential consultation today to speak with one of our Houston felony attorneys. We’re here to discuss how our legal team and investigators can assist you in preparing a vigorous defense.