Criminal Conviction in Texas: Consequences Beyond Punishment
A criminal conviction in Texas may land you in prison. The court also has the authority to impose penalties, probation, suspended sentences, restrictions, or sanctions depending on the severity of charges. However, these are only direct consequences of being convicted of a criminal charge. There are other consequences too, and a criminal conviction in Texas may have a significant lasting impact on your future. It is important that you always discuss the potential effects and how to counter them with an experienced criminal defense attorney. In fact, it should form an essential part of your defense plan against criminal charges.
Criminal Conviction in Texas: Penalties, Fines, Probation, Pardon
A person convicted of criminal charges in Texas has to face a court trial. The judge, as empowered by the state law, can handout punishments of different types based on the seriousness of the crime. It may include prison term, fines, or both.
A criminal conviction in Texas on misdemeanor charges may invite the following punishments.
- Class A misdemeanors: Maximum 1-year imprisonment and up to $4,000 in fine
- Class B misdemeanors: Maximum 180 days jail and up to $2,000 in fine
- Class C misdemeanors: Up to $500 in fine
Felony criminal conviction in Texas may lead to higher penalties.
- Capital felony: Execution
- First-degree felony: Life term with $10,000 fine
- Second-degree felony: Up to 20-year jail and $10,000 fine
- Third-degree felony: Maximum 10-year jail with $10,000 fine
- State-jail felony: Maximum 2-year prison term with $10,000 fine
The penalties mentioned here are the maximum possible cited by the Texas legal code. When an expert criminal defense lawyer is leading your fight against criminal charges, you stand a chance to win your freedom. You can also avoid jail yet pay the fine or be able to reduce the punishment and the amount of fine to the minimum possible.
Having a skilled criminal attorney may also make it possible for you to secure a suspended sentence or probation in eligible cases. It means you can effectively avoid going to jail and continue to enjoy freedom though with conviction and restrictions. Apart from the least restrictive sentence, your lawyer may also help you secure pardon in cases of misdemeanors under different provisions under the Texas law.
Criminal Conviction in Texas: Consequences Beyond the Sentence
If you are convicted of a criminal charge, it is going to impact your life in many ways. It can trigger unwanted effects on your ability to find a job, getting admitted to a college, securing permanent resident status, and leading a normal life. Let’s find out how criminal conviction may impact your present and future life.
Difficulty in Getting Employment
Criminal conviction affects your ability to earn. Many US employers often avoid hiring people convicted of a criminal offense. Some have it as their policy while most make a decision based on the type and severity of the offense committed. Those with theft, violence, sexual assault, or fraud convictions are turned down by employers. Even they stand to lose their existing jobs even if they secure probation or get off with fines. Employers aware of your criminal record may reject you or offer a low wage, jobs not commensurate with your qualification, or with little career growth. Seek legal advice from a Texas criminal defense attorney if it is possible to block public access to your records.
Problem in College Admission
It is likely that a person with criminal history application to join a graduate school or college may be subject to scrutiny and rejections. Most educational institutions steer clear of those with misdemeanor or felony convictions to protect their reputation. However, there are many colleges that offer a chance to convicts to return to reset their lives. Alternatively, talk to an expert criminal lawyer on ways to obtain a court order blocking publication of your criminal past on reasonable grounds.
It also bars you from seeking financial aid for your education, especially if you are convicted of drug or sexual crimes.
Change in Immigration Status
A criminal conviction in Texas may lead to cancellation of US visa and deportation. Those in the process of obtaining a green card may face the risk of having it rejected or delayed. Your conviction is likely to impact your job and stay visa. As soon as you serve complete the sentence, you have to face removal proceedings seeking your deportation.
When you are facing deportation proceeding, consult a reliable Houston immigration lawyer. There are several ways, including LPR cancellation, the ground of “good moral character,” potential cruelty in the home country, adjustment of status rule, and waivers, to stop the deportation of foreigners staying or working in the United States.
Suspension of Licenses
You stand to lose your driving license for a misdemeanor conviction related to possession or consumption of drugs or controlled substances. The cancellation of the driving license can be temporary or permanent. In case of a temporary restriction, you have to attend drug education classes and obtain a certificate from the Texas Department of Public Safety to get back your license.
A criminal conviction in Texas also results in the termination or denial of gun license. Even your license to practice as a professional is affected. Legal support by a proficient criminal lawyer is the only way to minimize the restrictions.
Enhanced Penalty for Repeat Offenders
Second-time criminal charges may lead to harsher penalties. Courts in Texas often consider charges against one previously convicted as a habitual offender and impose increased sentences. Whether it is the same charge or another, having a criminal record could made the process more difficult.
In Texas, if you are charged with causing bodily injury and the judge discovered that you have a previous conviction for the same, be prepared to fight a third-degree felony charge. Even in DUI case, the second offense invites increased jail term.
Effect on Parenting Status
A Texas resident convicted of Class A or Class B misdemeanor crimes involving the family or on sexual assault charges stands to lose the custody of children. This also extends to the conviction for robbery, allowing a child to play with firearm, alcohol or drug abuse, and public indecency. It may even put temporary or permanent restrictions on becoming a foster parent or adopting a child in the future.
Your criminal past can deter any landlord from agreeing to rent his house. Though the time gap between the conviction and you seeking a house is an influencing factor, still many don’t prefer tenants with a history of violence, drug abuse, or sexual crimes.
In Texas, a conviction on certain grounds excludes you from getting public benefits, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, government subsidized programs, and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families cash assistance. Certain charges put travel restrictions and you may find difficulties in obtaining a visa or passport.
The Last Chance
Avoiding criminal conviction by hiring the best criminal defense attorney in Texas is the best option if you want to protect yourself from future consequences. Contact a criminal lawyer and explore options on how to expunge your criminal records or get a court order preventing public access to your criminal records. Contact Zavala Texas Law to know your options.