A Texas resident who has allegedly committed a crime could face a misdemeanor or felony charge. In most cases, the level of a charge is determined by how much time behind bars a person could face if convicted. However, a prosecutor has flexibility when it comes to charging an individual. If a person is charged with a misdemeanor, he or she can generally expect to spend up to a year in jail if convicted.
Jail sentences could be served in a county jail as opposed to a secure prison. Felonies are considered to be more serious than a misdemeanor. Examples of crimes that are considered felonies include arson, rape and murder. Those who are convicted on such a charge could spend significantly longer than a year in prison. However, there could be other punishments handed down depending on the severity of a given crime and other factors in a case.
In addition to felonies and misdemeanor charges, individuals could be cited for an infraction. For example, a person could be in possession of small quantities of marijuana or have broken a traffic law in view of a police officer. While the initial penalties for an infraction can be relatively minor, those penalties can increase if the citation isn't dealt with in a timely manner.
Those who are charged with state or federal crimes may benefit from consulting an attorney. This may make it easier to learn about the potential penalties a conviction may bring such as jail time or a fine. In certain situations, evidence could be suppressed in a case, which may result in a favorable outcome for a defendant.