Do I Need a Criminal Defense Attorney?
When you are facing criminal charges in Texas, you might be wondering: do I need to hire a criminal defense attorney? While there are some scenarios in which a defendant might successfully craft his or her own defense, it is always a good idea to seek legal representation from an experienced Texas criminal defense lawyer. Criminal law in Texas is extremely complicated, and you will want an attorney on your side who has experience handling cases like yours and developing successful defense strategies based on fact patterns similar to your own case. The following are two major reasons you should always hire a criminal defense attorney.
You Will Want to Avoid Jail Time, Monetary Fines, and Other Penalties
You need a criminal defense attorney in Texas to help you avoid the criminal penalties associated with a criminal conviction. The following are examples of the penalties you could face for felony and misdemeanor offenses:
- First-Degree Felony: anywhere from 5-99 years in prison or life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000;
- Second-Degree Felony: anywhere from 2-20 years in prison or life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000;
- Third-Degree Felony: anywhere from 2-10 years in prison or life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000;
- State Jail Felony: anywhere from 180 days to 2 years in prison or life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000;
- Class A Misdemeanor: up to 1 year of imprisonment and a fine of up to $4,000;
- Class B Misdemeanor: up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000; or
- Class C Misdemeanor: fine of up to $500.
You Do Not Want to Let a Criminal Conviction Follow You for Years
When you are convicted of a criminal offense in Texas and have a criminal record, the consequences of that conviction will not simply stop once the terms of your sentence have been completed. To be sure, whether you are convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony offense, you will have a criminal record, and it can continue to impede on your life in the months and years following the completion of a sentence.
Did you know, for example, that an employer may be able to obtain information about your criminal record and may be able to use it in order to deny you employment? While some states have protections for people with criminal records when it comes to job applications, Texas has relatively few of these protections in its laws. Indeed, as the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) explains, if you are applying for a job that pays an annual salary of $75,000 or less, an employer can obtain and use information in your criminal record as long as the conviction occurred within the last seven years. If you are applying for a job that pays more than $75,000, there are no time limits. To be sure, a potential employer can access information about your criminal record that goes back decades.
Beyond employment, criminal records can affect where you are permitted to live, whether you are eligible for certain types of loans or credit, and other matters that can affect your social well-being. An experienced Texas criminal defense attorney can fight the charges you are facing so that a criminal conviction does not follow you.
Contact a Texas Criminal Defense Attorney
If you do not hire a lawyer for your case, you are more likely to be convicted of the charges and to face serious consequences. One of our Texas criminal defense attorneys is here to help. Contact The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates for more information about how we can assist you.