Do You Have a Criminal Case in Travis County?
Whether you have a criminal charge filed against you or are the subject of a criminal investigation, the lawyers at Cofer & Connelly can help. Three of the firm’s attorneys are former prosecutors in Travis County and together have tried more than a hundred cases in its county and district courts. We have the experience your case demands.
Our team approach guarantees that not only will an experienced partner work on your case, but you will also have the help of our talented associates, our in-house investigator (a former homicide and sex-crimes detective), and our firm’s mitigation specialist, who will help us present you as more than just another case number, as a real human being, to the prosecutors overseeing your case.
Austin is the seat of Travis County, but the county’s population of nearly 1.3 million people also live in Round Rock, Manor, and as far west as Lago Vista. This means that while the Austin Police Department and the Travis County Sheriff’s Office are the major law enforcement agencies, there are a handful of smaller agencies filing cases in the Travis County courts system. Our lawyers have worked with each and every one of them.
Being accused of a crime anywhere can be a terrifying and confusing experience. That’s true, too, even in Travis County where the prosecuting authorities and the courts have historically been viewed as more lenient than some of the surrounding counties.
Make no mistake, that perceived leniency should not be taken for granted, not by someone accused of a crime nor by their lawyer. Travis County provides a somewhat unique opportunity to get a case resolved favorably, but only if your lawyer is prepared to put in the work and use his or her valuable experience to get the job done.
Our Unique Advantage in Travis County
The knowledge and experience of lawyers at Cofer & Connelly is unparalleled when it comes to working cases in Travis County. All three of the firm’s criminal law partners Rick Cofer, Geoffrey Puryear, and Mark Pryor spent years working in both the county and district courts as prosecutors. In those courts they handled every kind of criminal case, from class B misdemeanors like the possession of marijuana, all the way up to capital murder cases. (Additionally, Mr. Puryear was appointed to the bench and served as a district judge to the newly created 460th District Court.)
There are many criminal defense attorneys in Travis County, but imagine if yours had in-depth experience on the other side of the courtroom, and could now use that experience to your benefit. That’s precisely what Cofer & Connelly offers.
Do You Have a District Court Case?
All felonies are assigned to one of the county’s eight district courts, and are prosecuted by the District Attorney’s Office. This is true no matter which police agency brings the charge. The levels of felonies, and examples of each, are as follows:
State Jail Felony – punishable by no less than six months in the state jail and no more than two years. There is a maximum fine of $2,000 at this level, and probation is frequently an option for those charged with a state jail felony.
Common examples of State Jail Felonies include:
- DWI (driving while intoxicated) with a child passenger
- Criminally negligent homicide
- Possessing less than a gram of a controlled substance (certain illegal drugs)
- Burglarizing a building
- Forging a check
- Unauthorized use of a vehicle
- Theft of items valued from $2,500 to $30,000
- Credit card abuse
- Cruelty to animals
- Possessing or fraudulently using someone's identifying information
- Improper visual recording or photography
- Interfering with child custody.
Third Degree Felony – punishable but no less than two years in prison and no more than ten years. There is also a potential fine of up to $10,000. Again, felony probation can be an option for this level of felony.
Common examples of Third Degree Felonies include:
- DWI (third offense)
- Intoxication assault
- Theft of items valued from $20,000 to $150,000
Second Degree Felony - punishable but no less than two years in prison and no more than twenty years. There is also a potential fine of up to $10,000. Again, felony probation can be an option for this level of felony.
Common examples of Second Degree Felonies include:
- Intoxication manslaughter
- Theft of items valued from $150,000 to $300,000
- Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon
- Aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury
- Sexual assault
First Degree Felony - punishable but no less than five years in prison and no more than ninety-nine years. There is also a potential fine of up to $10,000. Even at this level, probation can be an option.
Common examples of First Degree Felonies include:
- Aggravated Robbery
- Theft of items valued more than $300,000
Capital Felony – this is the most serious, and punishment is either life in prison without the possibility of parole, or the death penalty.
One of the keys to navigating the Travis County District Courts is having a specific and personal knowledge of those involved in our clients’ cases. For example, after handling decades-worth of felony cases, our lawyers know when to recommend a client seek punishment from a judge, rather than a jury. They know how to approach a particular prosecutor to seek agreement on a bond reduction, or removal of a burdensome bond condition. Simply put, we know the priorities and perspectives of the lawyer on the other side of us, just as we understand the priorities and perspectives of the judge presiding over the case.
Our lawyers are also experienced when it comes to taking advantage of Travis County’s specialty dockets. These include diversionary programs for veterans, for young offenders, and for those with mental health diagnoses. Handled properly in these courts, even serious felony cases can be dismissed entirely, with no plea or any admission of guilt on the client’s part.
Do You Have a County Court Case?
All cases filed as Class A or Class B misdemeanors are handled by the Travis County Attorney’s Office, and assigned to one of the seven county court judges. (In Texas, Class C misdemeanors go to one of Municipal Court, Traffic Court, or a Justice of the Peace Court. They can include a fine of no more than $500 and no jail time.)
Class B Misdemeanor – the maximum punishment is 180 days in jail, and/or a fine of no more than $2,000. Probation of up to two years is also an option.
Common examples of Class B misdemeanors include:
- DWI (first offense)
- Indecent exposure
- Possession of two ounces or less of marijuana
- Criminal trespass
- Terroristic threat
Class A Misdemeanor – the maximum punishment is one year in jail, and/or a fine of no more than $4,000. Again, probation of up to two years is an option.
Common examples of Class A misdemeanors include:
- Assault with bodily injury (including against a family member)
- DWI (second)
- Burglarizing a vehicle
- Possession of two to four ounces of marijuana
- Jumping bail for a misdemeanor offense
- Resisting arrest, search or transport
- Evading arrest on foot
- Carrying a weapon unlawfully
As in felony court, our lawyers have decades of experience resolving misdemeanor cases favorably for clients. Whether that be through negotiation, through a specialty docket, or after a jury trial, we are there to advise, guide, and advocate for our clients every step of the way.
Do You Have a Juvenile Case?
Juvenile criminal cases in Travis County can be the most confusing and intimidating of all. Unlike in adult court, whether your child is facing a felony or a misdemeanor juvenile charge, it will be handled by the Travis County District Attorney’s Office (TCDAO).
And this is where the lawyers at Cofer & Connelly excel. As noted, for many years we worked as prosecutors for the TCDAO, at various times being the most senior lawyers handling juvenile cases for the office. And the range of matters we handled varied as widely in juvenile court as in adult court – everything from shoplifting to capital murder.
In the juvenile system, the range of outcomes differs from adult court, something your child’s attorney should be familiar with. Most importantly, your child’s lawyer should have one goal: to obtain a resolution to the case such that your child does not have a permanent blemish on their record. We believe our track record for this has no equal.
Our criminal defense lawyers have maintained excellent professional working relationships with the current juvenile prosecutors in Travis County and are better positioned than any other firm to obtain the best possible resolution for your child’s case.
"Excellent all around. Highly recommend."W. N.
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"They really listen to and care about their client's needs and consistently fight for the best outcome! I am eternally grateful for all of the effort they put in to go above and beyond for everyone they help."C.D.
65 Years of Experience