Being arrested and tried for a criminal offense can be an overwhelming and stressful experience. Many clients feel that all hope is lost if they’re found guilty or want to plead guilty. Fortunately, this isn’t the end of their case. In Texas, a trial is bifurcated: the first phase determines if a defendant is guilty (the "guilt/innocent phase”), and the second phase dictates the corresponding punishment (the “punishment phase”). In the punishment phase, both sides, the State and the Defense, can present evidence, have witnesses testify, and making opening and closing statements to secure a suitable sentence.
The Punishment Phase
A comprehensive and focused defense strategy is one of the most decisive factors in a criminal defense case, particularly when it comes to the punishment phase. During this stage of the trial, a judge and/or jury is allowed to consider the full-range of a defendant’s punishment. For example, in a case involving a first degree felony, the punishment can range from 5-99 years in prison to life in the penitentiary, or even have the sentence probated (placed on probation). An experienced and trial-tested attorney can litigate on behalf of their defendant to get as close to 5 years as possible, or, in a best-case scenario, get the sentence probated.
A proper punishment strategy involved preparing witnesses, letters, and mitigation experts. These witnesses can prove to the jury that the defendant is not a “bad guy” despite being guilty of a criminal offense. Rather, he is a person who made a bad choice and can learn from it; most importantly, it shows the defendant is not irredeemable or deserving of a maximum sentence. An inexperienced criminal defense attorney can undermine a case by choosing and interviewing witnesses who fold before the prosecution and ultimately damage the defendant’s strategy.
Retain the Services of an Experienced Legal Professional
Guilty? Now is the time to secure effective and experienced legal representation. At The Christopher P. Cavazos Law Firm, our McAllen criminal defense attorneys are proud to provide compassionate guidance and trial-tested legal representation to the residents of Texas. We believe that a mistake shoudn’t define the quality of your life and future. Rather, it inspires our lawyers to aggressively litigate on your behalf to achieve a beneficial case outcome that reflects your legal objectives.
Being “guilty” isn’t the end of your case. Call The Christopher P. Cavazos Law Firm at (956) 290-8911 to schedule a free consultation.