Do You Go to Jail if You Commit a Felony?


Crimes are divided into two main categories: misdemeanors and felonies. Felonies are the more severe of the two. A felony crime can result in hefty fines and decades in prison. It is possible that a person could even spend the rest of their life in prison.

If this is your first felony, you may wonder: Do I have to spend time in prison? The good news is that you may not have to. It will depend on the strength of your lawyer. Here’s what you need to know.

Avoiding Jail Time

If this is your first felony offense or you have never been to prison, your criminal defense attorney should be able to help you. They can likely negotiate a plea deal with the court to keep you out of prison.

Under Texas criminal law, felony probation is a possibility. There are two options — straight probation and deferred adjudication. Under straight probation, you have been formally convicted of a felony, but the judge allows you to remain free under probation. You will have to abide by certain terms and conditions of probation.

Deferred adjudication means you will have to plead guilty or no contest. In exchange, you will remain free and will not be convicted of a felony. If you complete the terms and conditions of probation, your felony case will be dismissed and possibly even sealed. However, if you fail to comply with the terms and conditions of the probation, then the probation will be revoked and you will be ordered to serve a prison sentence.

There is another option, though, particularly if you have a prior criminal history. If you have been charged with a state jail felony in Texas, your criminal defense attorney may be able to negotiate your state jail felony under a 12.44a punishment. What this means is that you do not go to prison, nor do you accept probation. Instead, your felony case is punished as a misdemeanor jail sentence. So while you may avoid prison, you may still have to go to jail. However, you may serve a shortened sentence, depending on the rules of your county jail in Texas. By accepting a 12.44a sentence, though, you are still agreeing to a felony conviction. This comes with many long-term consequences on its own, such as losing the right to vote, bear arms, and serve on a jury.

Contact Us Today

Committing a felony can result in significant penalties. It is highly likely that you could go to jail, but with a solid defense and good negotiating skills from your lawyer, it is possible that you could avoid spending time behind bars.

Whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, the Austin criminal defense lawyers from Granger and Mueller PC can defend you. We will serve as your advocate as we work vigorously to protect your legal rights. To schedule a consultation, call (512) 474-9999 or fill out the online form.


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