Texas is tough on crime, but serious offenses still take place. Criminal law describes the behaviors that are discouraged and the penalties for those convicted. These laws also protect the innocent by ensuring fair trials and reasonable penalties that justly match the severity of the crime.
Criminal law punishes violations of the law that cause deliberate harm to another person. These crimes include things like robberies, assaults, drug possessions, and murders. Government prosecutors decide which charges to pursue in court based on evidence gathered by police investigators.
For minor crimes such as possession of less than two ounces of marijuana or stealing less than $50 worth of property, an offender can be charged with a misdemeanor. Misdemeanor crimes are punishable by fines and up to one year in the county jail, plus the penalties that come afterwards.
A felony charge is made when a severe crime has been committed. Offenses include murder, sexual assault, distributing illegal drugs, and armed robbery. Except in the case of a state jail felony, convictions lead to at least two years in prison. Capital felonies can result in life in prison or the death penalty.
For serious crimes, a Mansfield criminal defense attorney is essential to ensure that a person receives a fair trial. Attorneys make certain that court procedures are followed and that investigators have used approved methods of gathering evidence. They also help their clients by negotiating the severity of the charges so that the penalty fits the crime. The state also has a statute of limitations that restricts the prosecution of crimes after a certain amount of time has passed. For misdemeanors this is usually two years. The limit is longer for felonies with varying lengths.