How Criminal Sentencing Works in Texas, and How a Lawyer Can Help | Wilson County Criminal Defense Attorney
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How Criminal Sentencing Works in Texas, and How a Lawyer Can Help

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Floresville criminal defense attorneyIf you have been charged with a criminal offense, the outcome of your case is not a foregone conclusion. Even if you know you are going to plead guilty, or that a conviction is likely, there is still much that a skilled defense attorney can do to improve the outcome. Texas uses a determinate sentencing structure, meaning there are sentencing standards based on the crime. However, the actual sentence you receive can still vary quite a bit depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime and your personal history. Whether you are facing felony or misdemeanor charges, our attorneys are committed to seeking the best possible results for our clients.

What Factors Affect Sentencing?

No matter the offense for which you have been charged, there are a variety of factors a judge or jury can consider before your sentence is decided. Your attorney will be able to present any mitigating circumstances and make an argument for giving you a lighter sentence. In some misdemeanor cases, you may even be able to avoid jail time. However, the prosecutor will have the same opportunity to present evidence of circumstances that may work against you. The judge or jury determining your sentence can consider:

  • Your criminal history, or lack thereof. If this is your first offense, and it is a misdemeanor, you could be eligible for what is called deferred adjudication. This means that you will enter a plea of guilty or no contest and be put on probation. If you complete probation without violating the terms, your case will be dismissed and you will have a clean criminal record. On the other hand, if you have prior convictions, there is a higher chance of receiving a greater sentence.

  • Whether you hurt someone, or could have. If you committed a victimless crime that was highly unlikely to injure someone, such as possessing a small amount of cannabis, your attorney can argue for a lighter sentence. But if you put other people in danger (for example, by recklessly firing a gun), or actually did injure someone (such as in assault cases), you are at greater risk for a greater sentence. If there is a victim, they will be allowed to make a statement before you are sentenced.

  • Why you committed the offense. If you were facing serious personal hardship that induced you to commit an offense, your attorney may be able to use that to argue for leniency. One classic example is that of an out-of-work parent stealing to feed their family.

  • Whether you show genuine remorse. If you appear to genuinely regret what you did, especially if you have already begun to pay restitution, this may help convince a judge or jury to show leniency. If you are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction that played a part in your offense, seeking treatment may be helpful here.

This is just a partial list of factors a court can consider during the sentencing process. There is a litany of other circumstances that may come into play and affect whether you ultimately receive a lighter or harsher sentence.

Contact a Floresville Criminal Defense Attorney Today

An attorney will be able to look at all the facts and circumstances surrounding your case and determine any and all mitigating factors that can help you during sentencing. Even a misdemeanor conviction can have a serious impact on your life, but there are steps a lawyer can take to protect you from an overly harsh outcome. The sooner you contact our Wilson County criminal defense lawyers, the better we can protect your interests. Call BCP Criminal Defense Attorneys today at 830-769-1010 for a free, confidential, consultation.

 

Source:

https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/sites/default/files/files/divisions/criminal-justice/PenalCode-Offenses-byRange.pdf

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