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Felony Cases

Felony is a serious offense that carries a sentence where you can be confined (locked up) in prison. Under Texas Penal Code, there are five types of felony charges:

State Jail Felonies: 180 days to 2 years in a state jail and/or fine of not more than $10,000.00

Third Degree Felonies: 2 to 10 years in a state prison and/or fine of not more than $10,000.00

Second Degree Felonies: 2 to 20 years in a state prison and/or fine of not more than 10,000

First Degree Felonies: 5 to 99 years in a state prison and/or a fine of not more than $10,000

Capital Felonies: Death or life in prison without parolemore than $10,000.00

 

In real life most felony cases are resolved before going to trial, by Dismissal of Charges, Plea Bargains, Reduction of Charges to Misdemeanors, No Contest Pleas, or Guilty Pleas.

 

What is an examining trial?

An examining trial is a hearing before a judge to determine whether probable cause exists to send a felony case on to the grand jury. In Texas, an examining trial is not held unless demanded by the defendant or the attorney of the accused. Once the grand jury has returned an indictment, the defendant loses the right to an examining trial.

 

Trial Segment

In a felony criminal trial, either a judge or a jury, but mostly the jury, hears, reviews, and examines the evidence in order to decide whether, “beyond a reasonable doubt,” the person accused (the defendant) committed the crime or crimes, he or she has been charged with. Of course, the prosecution (district attorneys or city attorneys) has the burden of proving to the judge or jury that the accused (the defendant) committed the offense or offenses in the indictment in the hope of obtaining a “guilty” verdict and a conviction of the accused (defendant).

 

At the trial, the accused (the defendant) through his or her attorney gets the chance to contest and rebut the prosecutor’s claim and evidence, and also the accused (the defendant) gets the chance to present his or her own evidence to show and proof his or her innocents, albeit that a person is innocent until proven guilty by beyond the reasonable doubt.

 

After both sides have presented their evidence and case (this is called case-in-chief) and made their arguments, the judge or the jury considers whether to find the accused (the defendant) guilty or not guilty of the crime or crimes listed and charged in the indictment.

 

Sentencing Segment

If the accused (the defendant) is convicted of the crimes that he or she has been charged with, whether through a guilty plea, plea bargain, judge or jury verdict, the punishment is determined at the sentencing phase. When it comes to punishment phase, a number of different kinds of punishment can be imposed on a convicted criminal defendant including:

 

In more complex criminal cases, such as those involving serious felonies, the sentencing judge usually receives input from the prosecutor, the defense and the probation department (which prepare recommendation in a “pre sentence investigation or as it called PSI report”). The sentencing judge will also consider punishments and sentencing ranges identified in applicable criminal statutes, as well as a number of case-specific factors, including:

 

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