In one of the most infamous scenes in TV history, the audience was captivated by the attempted murder of beloved Dallas star, J.R. Ewing. Eventually revealed to be Kristen Shepard, J.R.’s sister-in-law, J.R. decided not to press charges against her. However, attempted murder is nothing to scoff at and this narrow brush with death often leads to severe criminal charges brought against the accused. Texas law is fairly straightforward with all types of criminal charges as described in the table below:
Offense Penalty Punishment
Murder 1st degree or 2nd degree felony 2 – 99 years in prison
Manslaughter 2nd degree felony 2-20 years in prison
Criminally Negligent Homicide State jail felony 180 days – 2 years in state jail
Kidnapping 3rd degree felony 2-10 years in prison
Trafficking of Persons 1st-2nd degree felony 2 -99 years in prison
Aggravated Assault 1st to 2nd degree felony 2-99 years in prison
Arson Up to 1st degree felony Up to 99 years in prison
Burglary Up to 1st degree felony Up to 99 years in prison
Theft Up to 3rd degree felony Up to 10 years in prison
Robbery 2nd degree felony 2-20 years in prison
These offenses are only a sampling of what is contained in the Texas Penal Code, and many criminal offenses have a wide range of potential penalties depending both on the type of offense committed and any prior convictions of the accused. If you have already had a misdemeanor conviction, there is a high possibility that a current misdemeanor or smaller felony offense can become heightened due to the prior conviction.
A criminal defense attorney knows the ins and outs of the criminal justice system in Texas and can advise you on what options are available. If this is your first criminal charge, you may have many options to choose from, including probation and deferred adjudication. Texas very much believes in a rehabilitative approach for persons with no criminal background, which is an important option your criminal defense attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor about.
Kristen Shepard may have gotten away with attempted murder (and assault) in Dallas, but real life scenarios are not as forthcoming and a criminal defense attorney is vital to your case. If you have been accused of any type of criminal offense, ranging from the very small misdemeanor to the highest ranking felony, you need the assistance of a criminal defense attorney who can provide you with legal advice appropriate for your charge.