In the United States, sentencing laws vary from state to state. However, all sentences in the US must conform to the US Constitution, which sets basic foundations, and then each state passes its own policies. For example, take the death penalty into account. Capital punishment is permissible by federal law in the United States. Although that may be the case, each state then decides whether they’ll adopt the practice or not. Currently, 30 states still enforce the death penalty.
In Texas, when an individual accused of a crime doesn’t take a plea deal, they go to court. In court, the county or district attorney provides evidence to prove the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. To combat this, the defendant’s attorney’s purpose is to create even the slightest sliver of doubt in the prosecutor’s case. The case is then presented in front of a jury of peers – all of whom understand the accused’s constitutional right to be considered “innocent until proven guilty”. To reach a valid verdict in a Texas criminal court, the jury must reach a unanimous vote. The inability to do so might result in the judge calling a mistrial.
In the state of Texas, the sentencing details are, by default, decided by the judge. However, a defendant has the right to bypass the judge and let the jury decide on the punishment for the sentence. If you end up going to trial, your lawyer will advise if sentencing via judge or jury is best for you.
What Type of Lawyer Do You Need?
If you are battling criminal charges, or even under investigation for them, it’s essential to hire a criminal defense attorney. Technically, any lawyer could represent you in a criminal case. However, it’s best to choose legal representation that specializes in criminal charges and Texas sentencing laws. A criminal defense attorney has the requisite knowledge and experience to handle your case. A criminal lawyer will do the following:
- Build your defense
- Develop a strategy for your case
- Investigate and research your case
- Negotiate with the prosecution
- File legal motions
- Represent you in court (if needed)
Dire consequences await anyone facing criminal charges: prison time, hefty fines, and a record. Having a criminal record can make it difficult to get a job in the future, and therefore can have ramifications that will continue to impact you long after the case is finished. When it comes to your livelihood, ensure you go with a criminal defense attorney that has your best interests in mind. A great defense lawyer can advise when its best to go to trial or take a plea, depending on your unique set of circumstances.
LRS in Austin has been matching clients with their ideal type of lawyer since 1966. All lawyers referred by LRS have been screened for experience, have no issues with the State Bar of Texas, and are guaranteed to carry malpractice insurance. LRS is a nonprofit public service that provides unbiased referrals and is approved by the American Bar Association and the State Bar of Texas.
LRS in Austin is happy to partner you with the right criminal attorney that best suits your needs. The referral will be based on the type of criminal law issue you are dealing with, the preferred location of your lawyer’s office, and the languages that you speak (if applicable). The first consultation with a criminal law attorney may be free. Call the Lawyer Referral Service at (512) 472-8303 or toll-free at (866) 303-8303. We service the Austin and surrounding areas.