Felony offenses are serious crimes which are punishable by incarceration in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (penitentiary or state jail) or by a suspended sentence. Examples of felony offenses are: capital murder; murder; aggravated robbery; sexual assault; sexual offenses against children; injury to a child or an elderly individual; aggravated assault; identity theft; credit and debit card abuse; and certain theft and drug offenses.
Tarrant County has 11 District Courts with jurisdiction over felony offenses. The Criminal District Attorney's Office has assigned a team of five prosecutors to each of these courts, consisting of a Court Chief and four additional, experienced prosecutors. These prosecutors handle thousands of felony offenses each year.
In evaluating a case, the prosecutor examines the evidence and the offender's previous criminal history, interviews witnesses, consults with the victim, and makes a determination regarding whether a plea bargain should be offered to the defendant. In cases which are not disposed of by an agreed sentence, the prosecutor prepares the case for trial by a jury of 12 citizens of Tarrant County. The sentences that have been assessed by Tarrant County juries directly impact the sentences offered by prosecutors in evaluating similar cases for plea bargaining or trial.