At the Hernandez & Hernandez firm we aggressively represent people accused of a variety of felonies and misdemeanors in Texas courts. In Texas state courts, crimes are classified as felonies, which are prosecuted in District Courts, as Class A and B misdemeanors, which are prosecuted in County Courts at Law or in County Criminal Courts at Law, and as Class C misdemeanors, which are usually prosecuted in municipal courts or in justice courts.
Criminal offenses in Texas State Courts are classified according to their punishment ranges. The classification of felonies and misdemeanors is set forth in Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code. Punishment ranges for felonies and misdemeanors are usually as follows:
An individual found guilty of a capital felony in a case in which the state seeks the death penalty shall be punished by imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for life without parole or by death. An individual found guilty of a capital felony in a case in which the state does not seek the death penalty shall be punished by imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for: (1) life, if the individual's case was originally a juvenile court case later transferred to an adult court, or (2) life without parole.
First Degree felonies
Imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for life or for any term of not more than 99 years or less than 5 years and in addition to imprisonment, an individual found guilty of a felony of the first degree may be punished by a fine not to exceed $10,000.
Second Degree felonies
Imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for any term of not more than 20 years or less than 2 years, and in addition to imprisonment, an individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the second degree may be punished by a fine not to exceed $10,000.
Third Degree felonies
An individual found guilty of a felony of the third degree shall be punished by imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for any term of not more than 10 years or less than 2 years and in addition to imprisonment, an individual found guilty of a felony of the third degree may be punished by a fine not to exceed $10,000.
State Jail felonies
An individual found guilty of a state jail felony shall be punished by confinement in a state jail for any term of not more than two years or less than 180 days, and in addition to confinement, an individual found guilty of a state jail felony may be punished by a fine not to exceed $10,000.
Class A misdemeanors
(1) A fine not to exceed $4,000;
(2) Confinement in jail for a term not to exceed one year; or
(3) Both such fine and confinement.
Class B misdemeanors
(1) A fine not to exceed $2,000;
(2) Confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days; or
(3) Both such fine and confinement.
Class C misdemeanors
A fine not to exceed $500.
Probation or Community Supervision
While jail or prison can be a punishment for all but Class C misdemeanors, frequently individuals qualify after pleading guilty or after being found guilty at a trial for probation or community service. In probation or community supervision, the imposition of a jail or prison term is suspended or probated, and an individual is instead required to periodically report (in El Paso County) to an officer of West Texas Community Supervision while the individual remains subject to the jurisdiction of a court. Sometimes but not usually an individual can be ordered to serve a short period of time in jail as a condition of receiving probation or community supervision. The law regarding community supervision is set forth in Article 42.12 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. While on probation individuals are often required to do some or all of the following: pay a monthly community supervision fee to West Texas Community Supervision, pay fines and costs of court, pay for and attend classes, attend counseling, obtain treatment for drug or alcohol addition, abstain from alcohol and illegal drug use, periodically submit to alcohol and drug testing, abide by a curfew, submit to restrictions on travel outside of El Paso County, and perform community service. A person convicted of a case involving driving while intoxicated is also often required to have a deep lung interlock or ignition interlock device installed on the vehicle while on probation. Such a device is designed to test a person for alcohol use prior to permitting that person to be able to operate a vehicle. Individuals who successfully complete a term of probation or community supervision are not required to serve a longer period of jail or prison time.
Sometimes individuals can receive deferred adjudication for a crime. Deferred adjudication is when a person pleads guilty or no contest, and is placed on community supervision or probation under the condition that if community supervision or probation is successfully completed, that charges against an individual will be dismissed, and there will be no conviction. While deferred adjudication is available for many offenses, it is not available for DWI cases. In drug cases, a person who receives deferred adjudication can avoid the 180 driver’s license suspension that a person convicted of drug crime receives. Deferred adjudication is available only to persons who plead prior to trial, and not to persons who are found guilty after a trial. While we hear cases of attorneys advising their clients that their record will be cleared if they successfully complete deferred adjudication, in fact the arrest and prosecution records remain on a person’s record, although the issuance of an order of non-disclosure can sometimes prevent those records from being available to the general public. (An exception exists in the case of Class C Misdemeanors for which a person successfully completed deferred adjudication, which can be expunged). Also, while successful completion of deferred adjudication does not result in a criminal conviction under state law, under federal law the government considers offenses for which people have received deferred adjudication to be convictions or admissions of guilt for purposes of federal immigration law.
Criminal Offenses For Which We Provide Legal Representation
At Hernandez & Hernandez we provide aggressive and quality legal representation for a variety of state court criminal offenses. While the ultimate goal of every case is to win at trial or to get the case against you dismissed, whether that is an option depends on the facts and evidence in your particular case. Also, if you are not a citizen of the United States, sometimes a plea of guilty is not an option because of the severe immigration consequences which can sometimes result from a guilty plea, such as deportation and exclusion from the United States. Some of the criminal matters for which we provide legal representation in state courts include the following:
- Domestic violence
- Drug Offenses
- Sex offenses
- Probation Violations
- Modifications of Probation
- Motions for Early Termination of Probation
- Theft Crimes
- Petitions for Orders of Nondisclosure
- Violent Crimes
- White Collar Crimes
- Identity Theft
- Fraud Crimes
- Unlawful Restraint
- Robbery and Burglary
- Murder and Manslaughter
- Hit and Run
- Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon
- Injury to an Child, Elderly Individual or a Disabled Individual
- Evading or Resisting Arrest
- Violation of a Protective Order
While not technically a criminal matter, our office also assists persons whose driving privileges have been suspended due to DWI arrests or drug related convictions to obtain occupational drivers licenses.
If you have been arrested or charged with a criminal offense, or if you require legal representation in a related matter, contact the offices of Hernandez & Hernandez today at (915)838-0338 for your free consultation.