First, take a deep breath. Once you’ve been charged with a Felony, the clock is ticking. Whether it is a State Jail felony of possession of a controlled substance or a first degree murder or aggravated sexual assault of a child charge – all felony charges are extremly serious and can ruin your career and life if not handled appropriately and expeditiously. You cannot sit around and wait to hire an attorney. You need someone to start fighting for you right away. Criminal Defense Attorney Justin Keiter has beaten many cases at the indictment stage and has convinced Grand Juries there was not even probable cause to go forward.
There are many different levels of felony offenses:
- State Jail Felonies – they are punishable from 180 days up to 2 years in a State Jail Facility of the Texas Department of Corrections. These are usually low level drug crimes like possession of a controlled substance less than a gram of methamphetamine or cocaine, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, burglary of a building, theft -third offender, prostitution charges with three prior convictions. and evading on foot if you’ve been previously convicted of evading on foot, and some failure to register as a sex offender charges.
- Third Degree Felonies – they are punishable from 2 years all the way up to 10 years in the Institutional Division of the Texas Department of Corrections. These are mid level felonies such as Driving While Intoxicated (“DWI”) third offender (if you have two prior convictions), Possession of a Controlled Substance 1 to 4 grams, Evading in a Motor Vehicle, some tampering with a government document and forgery charges and possession of child pornography charges, and some failure to register as sex offender charges.
- Second Degree Felonies – they are punishable from 2 years all the way up to 10 years in the Institutional Division of the Texas Department of Corrections. These types of felonies carry a much larger punishment range and include crimes such as Manslaughter, Robbery, Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Intoxication Manslaugher, Possession of a Controlled Substance from 4 up to 200 grams, Burglary of a Habitation, some instances of Tampering with a Government Document and Forgery, and some lower level sex crimes including sexual assault of a child and human trafficking charges.
- First Degree Felonies – they are punishable from 5 years all the way up to 99 years or Life in the Institutional Division of the Texas Department of Corrections. These types of felonies are the most serious and include crimes such as Murder, Aggravated Robbery, Aggravated Sexual Assault, Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child, Possession of a Controlled Substance from 200 grams and up, some human trafficking cases including trafficking of children and promotion of prostitution involving children.
- Super Felonies – there are also some felonies that have even higher punishment ranges. For example, some drug cases like Possession of a Controlled Substance over 200 or 400 grams come with minimum sentences like 10 or 15 years. The legislature has saved some of the most harsh punishment ranges for certain child abuse cases. Continuous Sexual Abuse/Assault of a Child and Super Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child both carry punishment ranges of a minimum of 25 years all the way up to Life in the Texas Department of Corrections and there is no parole in these types of cases. If convicted of one of these crimes you could literally spend the rest of your life in prison. These are some of the only other crimes other than Capital Murder where you could be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
- Capital Murder – This is the most serious charge in the State of Texas. The choices if you’re convicted are either life with no parole or the death penalty.