Houston Criminal Defense Blog

About Texas’ First-Time Offender Felony Charge Act

In the state of Texas, there are mandates defining which sentencing options are permissible for first-time felony offenders. These are in connection with the Texas First Time Offender Felony Charge Act of 1996. This act mandates that while flexibility is permitted, judges may not exceed set guidelines regarding the sentencing for some crimes.

The First-Time Offender Felony Charge Act requires that all felony drug offenses provide a 10 to 99-year sentence in a state penitentiary. The laws also require a fine that can rise up to $100,000. Drug offenders can avoid a maximum sentence if they are a first-time offender and have no history of prior convictions within the state. The offender is required to comply with all alternative sentencing guidelines issued by the court. This includes participation in mandatory drug rehabilitation programs and attending counseling when required.

Those that are charged with murder will be given a full sentence for their crime and are not eligible for sentence reduction. The First Time Offender Felony Charge Act declares that those who have committed intentional homicide also must serve a full sentence. Defendants are only eligible for a sentence reduction if they are charged with a crime that is non-violent or a crime where the threat of violence is only implied.

First time sex offenders are also affected by this act. The Act declares that first time felony sex offenders do not qualify for any reduced sentencing. Defendants who are convicted of any felony sex acts with a child under the age of 18 are required to register with their municipality as convicted sex offenders and are subject to sentences between 5 and 99 years in prison. The court will determine this sentence passed on the age of the minor at the time that the offense occurred and the nature of the offense. Contact a Houston personal injury lawyer today to learn more about the First Time Offender Felony Charge Act and how it might affect your case.

Categories: Criminal Defense