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Austin Criminal Defense Lawyer

Don’t let a criminal conviction ruin your life. Contact an Austin criminal defense attorney from Tillman Braniff, PLLC to help you avoid conviction.

In Texas, being convicted of a crime, whether it’s a misdemeanor or felony, can have consequences that will wreak havoc on your life. The legal penalties by themselves are bad enough—jail time, crippling fines, and probation, just to name a few—but the non-legal effects can also have serious implications.

Your family will surely feel the effects. If you’re in jail or prison, you won’t be around to help them, and depending on the offense, you could bring them great embarrassment. If you have children, you may even lose certain custody or visitation rights.

A conviction could ruin your job prospects for life, and if you’re a student at a higher education institution, you could even be kicked out. You can’t afford to be convicted of a crime. Hiring an Austin criminal defense lawyer with our firm may be your best chance to avoid all the horrors of a conviction.

How Can an Austin Criminal Defense Attorney Help?

When you’ve been arrested for a crime, you may wonder whether an attorney can really help you. Many people accused of a crime wonder whether hiring a lawyer will be a waste of time and money. Here’s the truth: Failing to hire an aggressive attorney could land you behind bars.

Your attorney can help you in a number of ways, but, mainly, we can help poke holes in the prosecutor’s case, allowing you to get your charges dropped, dismissed, or, at the very least, reduced. Your criminal defense attorney in Austin will know how to pinpoint the flaws in the case against you, and that’s all we need to create reasonable doubt.

Misdemeanor Penalties in Texas

Each person’s case is unique, and the penalties and fines can change with each set of circumstances. For example, one person may be given a large fine with very little jail time, and someone else else may be sentenced to a lengthy jail term with a very low fine. In some cases, the judge may believe probation is more appropriate.

Below is a general guideline of sentencing for misdemeanor cases in the state of Texas:

  • Class A Misdemeanor (Most Serious) – A conviction could lead to up to one year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine. Examples of Class A misdemeanors are theft of property valued below $1,500 but more than $500, theft of cable service, or stalking without bodily injury.
  • Class B Misdemeanor – Punishments include up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. Examples of Class B misdemeanors are property theft valued above $20 but not more than $500, driving while intoxicated (DWI), or making terrorist threats.
  • Class C Misdemeanor (Least Serious) – Minor offenses like these are punishable by up to a $500 fine. Examples of Class C misdemeanors are traffic offenses, attending a dog fight, and theft of property valued below $20.

Felony Penalties in Texas

Penalties for felonies vary even more widely than those for misdemeanors in Texas. Many times, a judge will sentence felons differently for the exact same crime. Sentencing can be affected by your criminal history and the circumstances surrounding your offense.

In some cases, a judge may want to make an example out of you. In almost all cases, it’s best to have an experienced Austin defense lawyer representing you because these penalties aren’t worth the gamble of trying to fight a conviction on your own.

Below is a general guideline of the penalties you may face for certain felonies under Texas law:

  • Capital Felony – Punishments include execution or life in prison. Capital murder is the only example of a capital felony.
  • First-Degree Felony – Between five and ninety-nine years or life in prison and up to a $10,000 fine are the maximum punishments. Examples of first-degree felonies are aggravated sexual assault or theft of property worth over $200,000.
  • Second-Degree Felony – You could face between two and twenty years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Examples of second-degree felonies are aggravated assault, reckless injury to a child, or property theft valued between $100,000 and $200,000.
  • Third-Degree Felony – Punishments include between two and ten years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Examples of third-degree felonies are drive-by shootings with no injuries and theft of property between $20,000 and $100,000 in value.
  • State Jail Felony – Between 180 days and two years in state jail and up to a $10,000 fine are the maximum punishments. Examples of state jail felonies are credit or debit card abuse or theft below $20,000 but greater than $1,500.

The Danger of Representing Yourself

If you’ve been charged with a crime in Austin, you may be tempted to represent yourself in court. Your reasons for attempting this likely stem from the costs associated with hiring an attorney, but you really can’t put a price tag on your future, your freedom, or your criminal record.

The real danger of trying to represent yourself is that you could lose. The loss of your case could be due to a lack of knowledge surrounding criminal law and defense. Attorneys go to school for many years to learn all they need to know to successfully defend against criminal convictions.

Unless you have a law degree, your legal knowledge is not likely to match ours, no matter how smart you are. It’s a great risk to attempt to fight a conviction on your own, and it’s an unnecessary one. We have affordable fees and can work out a payment schedule that you’ll be able to handle.

Austin Criminal Defense FAQ

When you’ve been charged with a crime, you have to make some big decisions very quickly. We are happy to answer your case-related questions at no cost to you during an initial consultation. We’ve also answered a few frequently asked questions below.

Why shouldn’t I just go with a public defender?

Public defenders don’t have the resources that private attorneys can afford, such as the ability to hire private investigators. Additionally, public defenders have enormous caseloads, which means they will barely be able to meet with you or take your phone calls, let alone do a thorough job of defending you.

How long does a conviction stay on my record?

Many people are under the impression that crimes “fall off” their record at some point in the future. This is a myth. Convictions stay on your record permanently.

Will you still defend me even if you think I’m guilty?

You have the right to a fair, aggressive defense, and we will stop at nothing to ensure your rights are upheld. We won’t give up until we’ve helped you achieve the best possible resolution for your case.

Get Help from an Austin Criminal Defense Attorney

Signing a plea agreement is an automatic admission of guilt. Defending yourself is risky. Don’t gamble with your future.

Regardless of what type of crime you’ve been charged with, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help. We know how to fight against convictions, and we can formulate a defense that will work for your unique case.

Hire an Austin criminal defense lawyer from Tillman Braniff, PLLC. It’s our job to fight for our clients’ rights. Your future is on the line, and we take that seriously. Call today at 512-236-0505 or complete the online contact form at the bottom of the page to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.