It goes without saying that facing any criminal charges – regardless of how serious – can be worrisome. A conviction could result in serious consequences, even if you ultimately avoid spending time behind bars. You could face challenges in your personal and professional life that follow you forever.
The prosecutors that handle these offenses are charged with the duty of seeking justice. Unfortunately, many prosecutors are more concerned with securing convictions at all costs. You deserve legal representation that could even the playing field against aggressive or unreasonable prosecutors. A Richardson criminal defense lawyer could help you develop a strategy to fight back against the charges you face.
State Law Provides for Different Types of Criminal Offenses
According to the law, criminal offenses fall into one of two categories: felonies and misdemeanors Felonies carry the steepest penalties of the two and are reserved for the offenses that are considered more serious. The maximum penalty for a misdemeanor might be lower, but a conviction could still have a serious impact on your life.
Felonies include the most serious criminal charges under the law. Some common examples include kidnapping, rape, or murder. These offenses have the potential to result in a prison term that is longer than a year. For some charges, you could face a lifetime behind bars.
A conviction in certain felony cases could result in the steepest penalty imaginable. According to Texas Penal Code § 12.31, a conviction for a capital felony could result in the death penalty. In Richardson, the only capital offense is capital murder.
Misdemeanors are the lesser of the two types of criminal offenses. However, a conviction could have a harmful impact on you for the rest of your life in some cases. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you could spend up to a year in jail. There are also fines associated with these offenses. Misdemeanors could make up a number of charges including first-time DWI arrests or assault.
For a free legal consultation with a criminal defense lawyer serving Richardson, call (972) 535-6377
The Consequences of a Criminal Conviction Can Be Serious
There are various penalties that come with a criminal conviction of any kind. For most people, the threat of incarceration is their primary concern. However, there are also costly fines and collateral consequences that could come with a conviction.
While these consequences can be steep, the good news is that not every criminal arrest results in a conviction. An aggressive defense strategy could result in an acquittal or even a dismissal of the charges.
Statutory Penalties: Jail Time and Fines
Many of the consequences that come with a criminal conviction are written into the statute. If you are convicted of a crime, the law will spell out the statutory penalties you could face. Typically, these include a combination of jail time and monetary fines.
In most cases, the statute will prove a range of penalties. It is the judge’s role to consider the facts and the law before determining what penalty is appropriate. A conviction could result in incarceration, or it could lead to other consequences like community service and home confinement. The fines associated with a criminal offense could be costly, as well.
Not all consequences related to a criminal conviction can be found in state statutes. Some consequences occur independently of the judicial system, but they could still have a substantial impact on your life. These are known as collateral consequences.
One of the most common collateral consequences is the inability to secure employment with a criminal record. Employers frequently rely on background checks during the hiring process, and they are under no obligation to offer a position to someone convicted of a crime. The same is true for landlords considering rental applications.
Convicted felons could face other collateral consequences related to the rights they enjoy. For example, a convicted felon is barred from voting or owning firearms in most cases.
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You Could Have Multiple Defense Options
There are countless ways to approach your defense strategy following an arrest. Some defenses apply broadly to every type of criminal case. Other defense strategies could be limited to only a handful of charges. What matters is that your attorney could help you evaluate the facts of the case and determine the strongest defense strategy based on the facts.
When it comes to criminal charges involving physical injury, self-defense is one of the most common defenses. You have the right to protect yourself from the imminent threat of harm, even if it means injuring someone else in the process. Your use of force must be both reasonable and proportionate to avoid a charm.
Consent is a common defense in some – but not all – sexually-based offenses. When rape charges are involved, consent is one of the most common defenses. This approach is not useful in cases where consent is impossible. An example would be in cases involving allegations of statutory rape.
If your rights are violated by law enforcement, the evidence they collect could be barred from your trial. The police must abide by certain limitations when it comes to pulling over your car or searching your property. If they violate the law, any evidence they seize could be thrown out. This could result in the majority of the state’s case against you going away.
Lack of Evidence
While your initial instinct might be to prove that you have done nothing wrong, there are times when the best defense is to highlight the lack of evidence against you. It is up to the prosecution to prove that you are guilty of a crime. If they cannot do so, pointing to the lack of evidence against you is a strong defense.
Work With An Attorney on Your Defense Strategy
If you are facing criminal charges, you have the right to legal counsel. Your arrest does not guarantee your conviction, and our legal team can fight to get you the best possible outcome.
Underwood Law Office is prepared to serve as your advocate while you face these criminal charges. To discuss your defense options and how a Richardson criminal defense lawyer can help, call (972) 535-6377 for an initial consultation.