Experienced and Rigorous Austin Criminal Defense Lawyers to Help You
Our Austin, TX Criminal Defense Attorneys have extentive experience representing clients accused of all types of crimes. We have successfully defended sexual offenses, violent crime, DWI, theft of property and white collar crime, among others. We represent clients in both federal and state courts and know the prosecutors and judges in each. We are experienced with both misdemeanors and felonies.
Misdemeanors in Texas
Texas misdemeanors generally are crimes that do not involve violence or a substantial property loss. Examples are certain drug offenses with a small amount of controlled substances, a DWI first offense, or petty theft. The judge generally determines the punishment which will range from a several hundred dollar fine to a fine of thousands of dollars and, for more serious misdemeanors, possible jail time.
In addition to helping with misdemeanor cases, we can also represent you in the face of probation violations, or military crimes if you are a member of the armed forces. Members of the armed forces may be eligible for special Veteran’s Treatment Courts which can result in no conviction or jail time.
Removing a Misdemeanor from Your Records
The process to vacate or expunge your criminal records is known as “expunction.” Not all misdemeanors can be expunged. A person seeking an expunction must wait a certain amount of time (six months to one year depending on the misdemeanor) for their record to be eligible for expunction. A person must petition the court for an expunction and may have to perform court-mandated programs such as community service.
Felonies in Texas
Felonies in Texas involve more substantial matters including physical assaults or negligent acts resulting in death or serious injury to another person, thefts of a large amount of money or property, or other intentional criminal acts such as white collar crime. Felonies have five classification levels. All felonies in Texas carry a potential penalty of more than one year in prison. Certain felonies can result in up to 25 years behind bars, or even life in prison or the death penalty for violent capital felonies.
It is more difficult to get a felony criminal record expunged or, as an alternative, having the record sealed from public disclosure. For those who have had a criminal case dismissed or if a grand jury fails to indict, it is possible to seek expunction of the charges. Waiting periods to do so are longer than for misdemeanors. Felony limitations periods range between five and ten years. Once time has passed, the felony case can be expunged by petitioning the court. Some serious felonies such as murder can never be expunged.
Our Austin, TX Criminal Defense Lawyers strive to either get the case dropped, arrange to plead it down to a lesser offense, or prevail at trial or on appeal. We work hard for clients to expunge their misdemeanor and felony charges as well as convictions when allowed by Texas law. Doing so will clean your record and remove the negative consequences of a criminal charge or conviction. We also file petitions to seal records when expungement is not possible.