What Factors Influence the Severity of a Felony Charge in Texas?

man charged with a felony

When caught committing a crime, you’ll likely face predetermined penalties for the offense you are charged with. This can be overwhelming to comprehend, as there are a number of factors that can influence the outcome of your conviction. These factors lead to uncertainty and doubt surrounding the severity of your charges, ranging from a misdemeanor to a felony. If you’re facing criminal charges, it’s vital to understand how Houston criminal defense attorneys can help you navigate your upcoming legal battle with quality representation.

What Constitutes a Felony Charge?

When it comes to criminal proceedings, there are generally two common categories in which they will be classified and prosecuted. In Texas, these are known as misdemeanors and felonies. A misdemeanor is generally less severe than a felony, warranting less harsh penalties and consequences. Felonies, on the other hand, are typically harsher, constituting at least a year in jail and, in some extreme cases, capital punishment.

Generally, those charged with a felony are guilty of committing a crime that inflicts physical or financial harm upon another person. These include murder, rape, and arson, among other egregious crimes.

What Factors Will Influence the Conviction?

In some instances, certain crimes may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Known as “wobblers,” these offenses are influenced by a number of factors. Generally, they can either be charged as a Class A misdemeanor, which is the most severe of this category, or a third-degree felony, which is the least offensive of this classification.

The court will consider the following factors when determining if a crime should be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor:

  • If there were any aggravating circumstances surrounding the crime
  • Whether or not the defendant has a previous criminal history
  • If the motive of the crime was based on race, gender, ethnicity, or religion
  • The weapons used to commit the crime
  • Whether or not the crime took place in a protected location
  • If the crime directly endangered the public

It is also important to note that some misdemeanors have stipulations in the law that raise them from a misdemeanor charge to a felony. For example, a DWI charge is often classified as a misdemeanor, but if there is a child passenger in the car, it can be bumped up to a felony.

How Can an Attorney Help?

When you are facing criminal charges, ensuring you have an attorney to help you is essential. As there are a number of factors that could impact the outcome of your case, you’ll want to enlist the help of an experienced lawyer to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your circumstances. At the Gonzalez Law Group, we believe that everyone should have fair representation. If you are facing a potential felony charge, contact us today to learn how we can help you navigate this process.