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Secrets of the Texas Criminal Justice System and Your Rights
Facing a criminal charge can be among the most difficult experienced. Whether these charges are misdemeanors or felonies, simply getting arrested can be a traumatic experience. Making matters worse, Texas maintains some of the harshest penalties for criminal activity anywhere in the country. Therefore, it is essential that people facing criminal charges take a positive step to protect themselves.
One of these steps could be to work with an El Paso criminal lawyer. An aggressive defense attorney could dedicate the time and the resources necessary to fight back against the prosecutor’s case to help give you the best chance of a positive outcome.
How a Private Criminal Defense Attorney Could Help
Any criminal accusation that could result in a jail sentence upon conviction is a matter where a person has the right to an attorney. If a defendant cannot afford to hire an attorney, the court will appoint a public defender. While these attorneys are certainly dedicated and competent, the plain fact is that they are overwhelmed with cases and often cannot spend the time needed to properly serve all their clients.
An El Paso criminal lawyer could dedicate the necessary time and resources to provide someone facing charges with the best chance for a positive outcome. This can include techniques involving an independent investigation into the alleged incident, filing motions in court to challenge the admissibility of evidence, and working with expert witnesses to counteract any State experts on matters such as ballistics, DNA evidence, or forensics. Every case is unique, but a dedicated lawyer could work to meet a person’s goals with a specialized case plan.
Types of Criminal Charges in El Paso
Texas’ Penal Code separates criminal offenses into two main categories. The less serious of these are misdemeanor offenses. According to Texas Penal Code §1.07 (31), a misdemeanor is any offense for which the maximum penalty is a sentence in jail. This is opposed to felonies where the penalty can be confinement in state prison. As a result, a conviction for a misdemeanor will generally not result in a jail term of more than one year, the payment of a fine, or both. Common examples of misdemeanor offenses include:
- Drug possession
- Simple assault
While a conviction for a misdemeanor may seem like a minor offense, it will create a permanent criminal record that could make it difficult to obtain housing or employment.
The other class of criminal offenses includes charges considered to be felonies. Texas Penal Code §1.07 (23) says that this is an offense for which a conviction can result in death or confinement in a penitentiary. Examples of felonies include:
- Drug distribution
- Sexual assaults
- Grand theft
While many felonies give courts discretion in sentencing, others carry mandatory minimum prison terms. This means that a conviction requires a court to send a defendant to prison. Therefore, it is vital that people facing misdemeanor level charges aggressively defend themselves. An adept El Paso criminal lawyer could work with an accused person to formulate a credible legal defense.
An El Paso Criminal Attorney Could be an Aggressive Advocate
The prospect of appearing in court to answer a criminal charge is daunting for many of El Paso’s citizens. Even if you believe that the arrest and following charges all stem out of a simple misunderstanding, the fact of the matter is that any criminal conviction comes with serious consequences. Misdemeanor charges can result in a jail sentence, the payment of a heavy fine, and the creation of a criminal record. More serious felony offenses often require a long prison term upon conviction.
An El Paso criminal lawyer could help work to prevent this from happening. From day one they can help to protect your rights and discover flaws in the prosecutor’s case that could work in your favor. Contact an El Paso criminal attorney today to see how they could help you.