What Am I Facing?
In Texas, criminal charges fall into two different categories: misdemeanors and felonies. While both should be taken seriously, misdemeanors are considered the lesser of the two. The punishments for felonies and misdemeanors vary based on the severity of the crime. Both can have serious consequences on your life and future so it’s imperative that you understand the differences in crimes, degrees of offenses and range of punishments. Understanding your criminal charges and securing an experienced attorney at the outset can mean the difference between a charge and a conviction.
Deferred Adjudication, Probation, & Jail
Depending on the offense you’re charged with, you could seek alternative penalties to jail time such as deferred adjudication or “regular” probation. In Texas, these are known as community supervision. They range from 2 years for misdemeanors to 10 years for felonies.
Deferred adjudication is a type of probation and a viable sentencing alternative for certain charges and most often for first-time offenders. With deferred adjudication an individual is not technically convicted, so you are not specifically found guilty of the offense. Basically, the judge just determines that there is sufficient evidence for a guilty case to be made. The accused must enter a plea of “non contest” or “guilty” to obtain a deferred adjudication
Deferred adjudication is a plea bargain arrangement with the court where sentencing is deferred based on the outcome of the probationary period. If you are granted and successfully complete your deferred adjudication probation and any other requirements set forth by the court, then the charges are dismissed. Unlike regular probation, if you fail to meet the conditions of your deferred adjudication, you will face the full range of penalties or statutory maximum associated with the original crime.
Unlike deferred adjudication, typical probation usually results in a conviction. The maximum jail or prison term is set at the time of the plea. This means if you fail to meet the conditions set forth by the court, you are thrown in jail for the already pre-determined amount of time, rather than face the statutory maximum as you do in deferred adjudication.
Depending on the seriousness of your offense, you can be placed in county jail, state jail or prison. While felony convictions can typically land you in state jail or prison, jail time can also be a condition of probation or deferred adjudication. A judge could order a defendant spend up to 30 days in county jail for a misdemeanor or up to 180 days for a felony.
Whatever crime you’ve been charged with, John C. Rentz can help you get the least possible sentencing. As an expert attorney, he will evaluate your charges and unique circumstances, creating a defense to aggressively protect your rights and obtain the result you need.