If you or a family member has been charged with a felony crime in Texas, you must be wondering what to do next.
The answer is simple:
Hire an experienced Houston criminal defense lawyer who can advise you and represent you.
Depending on the nature of the crime and the circumstances of your case, you could face punishments including years in prison and fines of many thousands of dollars if convicted of a felony crime in Texas.
And even beyond that, you could have many restrictions placed on your life as a convicted felon, including loss of licenses or privileges.
These are not prospects you should take lightly. Instead, take action by talking to a veteran defense attorney.
The award-winning Neal Davis Law Firm stands ready to assist clients in Montgomery County, Fort Bend County, Houston and the remainder of Harris County. We have a proven track record of helping clients get their felony charge reduced or even dropped before trial.
And if it’s necessary to go to trial, we have the skill and experience to defend our clients’ legal rights.
So what happens first?
Texas Felony Timeline
With a felony case in Texas involving a possibility of over one year in prison, the case must go to a grand jury that’s composed of citizens who decide if enough evidence exists to proceed with the case. In most instances, the grand jury finds that evidence is sufficient to go forward.
At this point, the prosecutor may make an offer to you to “settle” or resolve your case without a trial. This is known as a plea bargain agreement or plea deal.
You and your lawyer can then evaluate this offer and determine your best course of action. You may accept the plea offer, or your attorney may make a counteroffer and negotiate until you are satisfied.
Generally, a plea bargain settles a case by the defendant offering to plead guilty in exchange for facing a lesser charge or a lesser punishment. The case doesn’t go to trial.
If your case does go to trial, you will enter your plea in court. That will be guilty, not guilty or nolo contendere (meaning “no contest”). Then, if you’re out of custody, it can take as long as one year for your case to go to trial.
Your Right to Remain Silent
In the meantime, another thing to do if charged with a felony in Texas is to stay silent — that is, don’t talk to law enforcement or prosecution investigators without your attorney present or without your attorney’s advice. That’s your right under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Keep in mind that if you “plead the Fifth” by invoking your Fifth Amendment rights and choosing to remain silent, that is NOT an admission of guilt, nor will that decision be presented to a jury in court. Don’t be afraid that your insistence to remain silent or to have an attorney present during questioning can be used against you.
In fact, speaking your mind to authorities or to anyone — including online on social media — can be a big mistake.
Take the charge of sexual assault involving actor Kevin Spacey. He posted a lengthy video rant online about his case — something a smart defense lawyer would have advised him not to do for many reasons.
Your Right to Resist Illegal Search & Seizure
Another thing to do when facing a felony charge is to resist giving permission to authorities to search anything: your house, your car, your clothes — anything. If you don’t give your consent, you are protecting yourself, since any evidence seized may not be admissible in court.
In these and other ways you can take action to protect your legal rights if you face a felony charge in Texas. But the first and best way to take action is simple and straightforward:
Engage an experienced criminal defense attorney.