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What are the different levels of offenses/charges?

Offenses are prosecuted at the lowest level of Class B misdemeanor up to highest level of First Degree felony. Examples of the level of each type of offense and the possible ranges of punishment are as follows:

Class B Misdemeanor – confinement for a term not to exceed 180 days in the county jail; and/or a fine not to exceed $2,000. Example: DWI (“drunk driving”), Criminal Trespass, Theft by Check $50 to $500, evading arrest or detention.

Class A Misdemeanor – confinement for a term not to exceed one year in the county jail; and/or a fine not to exceed $4,000. Example: a second DWI, Assault, Burglary of a Vehicle, Unlawfully Carrying a Weapon.

State Jail Felony – confinement for a term from 180 days to two years in a state jail; and an optional fine not to exceed $10,000. Example: Credit Card Abuse, Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle, Reckless Injury to a Child.

Third Degree Felony – confinement for a term from two to 10 years in prison; and an optional fine not to exceed $10,000. Example: a third DWI, Indecency with a Child, Kidnapping, Possession of a Firearm by a Felon.

Second Degree Felony – confinement for a term from two to 20 years in prison; and an optional fine not to exceed $10,000. Example: Aggravated Assault or Kidnapping (if the victim is released unharmed), Arson, Robbery, Sexual Assault.

First Degree Felony -confinement for life or a term from five to 99 years in prison; and an optional fine not to exceed $10,000. Example: Murder, Aggravated Kidnapping, Robbery or Sexual Assault.

Capital Felony – punishment in prison for life or death penalty. If the State does not seek the death penalty, upon conviction, an automatic life sentence is imposed. Where the State seeks the death penalty, upon conviction, the jury must answer questions which may result in either a sentence of life imprisonment or the death sentence. Example:Murder during the commission of another felony such as kidnapping, rape or robbery.

Arrested and not a U.S. Citizen?

If you are arrested and you are not a U.S. Citizen, in most cases the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) will place a hold on you. This hold will keep you in jail, whether or not you are able to make a bond. The way in which your criminal case is handled will directly affect your resident status. This should be one of the main issues you discuss with your attorney. If at all possible, you should seek the advice of an attorney who specializes in immigration issues.

What do you do if you're in jail?

If you are in Jail (incarcerated and unable to make a bond), you may hire your own attorney or if you are indigent the court will automatically appoint an attorney to represent you. If you are unable to make a bond and are indigent, the court will appoint your lawyer within 24 hours of incarceration. You will be contacted by the lawyer but may not actually meet with the lawyer until the police file a case against you. This may take up to 72 hours.

How does a bail bond work?

When an individual is arrested for a crime in the State of Texas, typically that person will be taken to a local law enforcement station for booking, prior to incarceration in a station lock-up or county jail. Once arrested and booked, the defendant has several options for release pending the conclusion of his or her case. Bail is designed to guarantee the appearance of a defendant in court at the time directed by the judge.

What are the release options if someone is arrested?

There are three basic release options available. The three options are:

  • Surety Bond
  • Cash Bail
  • Release on Own Recognizance (O.R.)

An alternative to cash bail is a surety bond. This process involves a contractual undertaking guaranteed by an admitted insurance company having adequate assets to satisfy the face value of the bond. The bail agent guarantees to the court that they will pay the bond forfeiture if a defendant fails to appear for their scheduled court appearances. The bail agent’s guarantee is made through a surety company and/or by pledging property owned by the bail agent.

For this service, the defendant is charged a premium. By involving the family and friends of a defendant, as well as through the acceptance of collateral, the bail agent can be reasonably assured that the defendant released on a surety bond will appear at all of his/her court appearances.

After this procedure is completed, the bail agent will post a bond for the full bail amount, financially guaranteeing the defendant’s return to court as scheduled.

With money on the line, the bail agent has a financial interest in supervising bailees and ensuring that they appear in court each and every time the court orders them to appear. If the defendant does not appear in court (skips), the bail agent has time and the financial incentive to find the defendant and bring him/her to court.

Cash Bail

Cash bail means a person must give the court or jail the total amount of the bail in cash. The cash will be held by the court until the defendant appears at all of his/her court cases and the case is concluded. Full cash bonds provide a powerful incentive for the defendant to appear in court. If the defendant appears for all of his/her scheduled court appearances, the cash bail should be returned.

Release on Own Recognizance (O.R.)

Another method of release pending trial is through a pre-trial release program administered by the county or a law enforcement agency. Usually, the employees of these programs interview defendants in custody and make recommendations to the court regarding the release of individuals on their own recognizance (i.e., without any financial security to ensure the defendant’s return).

The interview process is often conducted over the telephone, usually with little inquiry into the defendant’s background. The interview process attempts to determine whether the detainee is likely to appear in court. There is usually no verification of information provided by the defendant. Since no money, property, or bond is posted to secure the defendant’s appearance in court, he/she faces no personal economic hardship from the conscious decision not to appear in court.

How much does a bail bond (surety bond) cost?

In Texas, the bail premium, or fee, is typically 10 percent (subject to a minimum premium and underwriting criteria) of the full bail amount. For example, if the bail amount is $10,000, the premium charged is $1,000.

How much of the premium will I get back?

Typically the 10 percent premium is fully earned once the bail bond is posted with a jail or court. That is how bail agents and their surety companies make their money and pay their bills.

What is collateral?

Collateral is anything of value used to financially secure a bail bond.

What can be used as collateral?

Some examples of collateral include credit cards, houses, cars, boats, jewelry, or electronic equipment (you get the idea).

When will collateral be returned?

Collateral is usually returned when the court has finished with the defendant’s case(s), exonerating the bail bond(s), and when all fees have been paid.

How long does it take to be released from jail?

There are two types of jails – city jails and county jails.

City jails are operated by city police departments and county jails are operated by the county sheriff. After a defendant is booked into a city jail (i.e., fingerprinted, photographed, warrants checked, etc.), it typically takes anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour to be released on bail.

After a defendant is booked into a county jail, it usually takes anywhere from 2 to 8 hours and up to 24 hours to be released on bail. We wish we could speed up the process but the city and county jails operate at their own pace.

What to do if you are stopped for a DWI?

Stay calm.

Follow the same instructions for being stopped in your car.

DO NOT answer questions like, “Have you been drinking?” or “How much have you had to drink?”. Respectfully reply, “Officer, I do not have to answer that.” Statements admitting to any amount of drinking, being “buzzed”, or intoxicated can and will be used against you later in court.

You DO NOT have to submit to a breathalyzer or field sobriety tests. This is evidence that can and will be used against you later in court.


Successful Cases

1/2020Dallas CountyPoss Prob WeaponDismissed
12/2019Dallas CountyCapital MurderDismissed
11/2019Dallas CountyInjury to ChildNo-Billed
5/2019Dallas CountyPoss CSNo-Billed
01/2019Hunt CountyPoss Marj<2ozDismissed
12/2018Tarrant CountySex Abuse of Child continue Victim under 14Not Guilty
06/2018Tarrant CountyAgg Assault w/ Deadly WeaponNo-Billed
01/2018Collin CountyTheft over $2500No-Billed
08/2017Dallas CountyTrafficking of Persons<18 for ProstitutionNot Guilty
04/2017Collin CountyAgg Assault w/ a Deadly WeaponNo-Billed
05/2017Dallas CountyAgg Assault w/ a Deadly WeaponNo-Billed
01/2017Dallas CountySexual AssaultNo-Billed
11/2016Dallas CountyPoss CS PG3<28G DFZ 1ATNo-Billed

“My son was incarcerated for a probation violation. The attorney I hired told me that he would have to go to prison for five years. I hired Mr. Wilson, Mr. Wilson found problems in the state’s case and my son was released from custody.”

Debra J.

“My son was charged with a second degree felony, I contacted Mr. Wilson shortly after he was arrested. Mr. Wilson located evidence that my son was not guilty of the aggravated assault and the case was dismissed”

Gwen B.

Contact us today

The Law Office of Russell Wilson II has substantial experience from 24 years in the courtrooms throughout the nation. Mr. Wilson defends individuals charged with serious crimes, assist a variety of medium sized businesses in handling a variety of employment related issues, and defends attorneys who face disciplinary actions.

Dallas Office
1910 Pacific Avenue, Suite 15100
Dallas, Texas 75201

Phone: (469) 573-0211