Food Stamp Fraud would be a feony in Texas, the range of punishment for which is from 6 months to two years in a state jail and a fine up to $10,000. That said, however, it is a non-violent
offense and what the state will want more than seeing a first offender locked up on these charges is to get money back.
Now that criminal charges have been filed against you, it's too late to avoid court. The only one who can make this case go away is a judge, either because of dismissal, plea and sentencing, or trial
and verdict. As the DA is prosecuting your case, going to the DAs office for help is not advisable. You're a defendant and anything you say can be used against you. You may or may not have deliberately committed a fraud, and you should only share everything related to this offense with a criminal lawyer who will represent you, so he'll best be able to serve your needs.
On your first date in court, you will be arraigned on the charges (they will be formally read into the court record) and you will be asked how you plead. It is customary to enter an initial plea of "Not Guilty." You can always take that back later on if there's a good reason to do it -- like a plea you want to take -- but until then a not guilty plea is the only way you will keep all of your rights and choices open to you. Once you admit anything on the record in court, it's difficult or impossible to make that go completely away.
If you can afford an attorney, you should have him with you at your arraignment, because there may be an offer available to you, and you will have to be in a position to make an informed decision. Your lawyer can confer with you about the case, look at the accusatory papers in the court and talk to the DA to get an over all picture of how strong the State's case against you may be. Basically, you will only have two choices open to you: fighting the case and moving it in the direction of hearings and trials; or, taking a plea. Your lawyer can give you the up and down sides of both courses so you can make your choices and be knowledgeable about possible consequences.
If you cannot afford a lawyer, you can ask the court to appoint you a public defender. If the judge agrees that you are indigent and that it would be too much of a hardship for you to be able to pay a lawyer, you'll get a free one.
It is pretty typical for a first offender on a fraud case to get a non-jail plea offer. You would probably be looking at no worse than probation. One of the conditions of probation will be to make restitution and to pay back the money. There may be other conditions as well, such as classes or community service. You would be expected to comply with them. There is also a form of probation called deferred adjudication. What's good about that, if it's offered to you, is that if you complete probation successfully, you can eventually apply to seal the record so that you don't have a criminal convicition to carry around with you for the rest of your life.
Of course, if you violate probation, you would risk being resentenced to jail.
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This thread will not close and you can always use it to get clarification.This is informational only and is NOT legal advice.