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Texas Misdemeanors vs. Felonies: Understanding the Differences

The Law Firm of Andrea M. Kolski
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If you’re convicted of a crime in Texas, the penalties assigned to you will depend in large part on whether you’re found guilty of a misdemeanor or a felony offense. That’s why it is crucial to hire an experienced defense attorney right away. Here’s everything to know about Texas misdemeanors vs. felonies.

Understanding Misdemeanor Offenses in Texas

In Texas, misdemeanor charges are deemed less serious than felonies. Misdemeanors are categorized into Class A, Class B, and Class C misdemeanors.

Class A Misdemeanors in Texas

Class A misdemeanors are essentially a step below a felony charge. In other words, they are the most serious type of misdemeanor. Punishments if convicted of a Class A misdemeanor may include up to one year in jail, and fines of up to $4,000. Class A misdemeanors in Texas may include assault, driving while intoxicated second offense, carrying a weapon unlawfully, family violence, possession of more than 2 ounces of marijuana (but less than 4 oz), resisting arrest, criminal mischief, public lewdness, and more.

Class B Misdemeanors in Texas

Class B misdemeanors are midrange offenses. Punishments, if convicted of a Class B misdemeanor, include up to 6 months in jail and up to $2,000 in fines. Class B misdemeanors in Texas may include driving while intoxicated first offense, possession of less than 2 ounces of marijuana, indecent exposure, evading arrest on foot, criminal trespass, and theft up to $1,500.

Class C Misdemeanors in Texas

Class C misdemeanors in Texas are the least serious criminal offense. If you are convicted of a Class C misdemeanor in Texas you will not serve jail time. However, you may pay a fine of up to $500. Examples of Class C misdemeanors in Texas include public intoxication, disorderly conduct, bail jumping, theft of up to $100, and attempting to commit a Class B misdemeanor.

Understanding Felony Offenses in Texas

Felonies are much more serious charges in Texas. Like misdemeanors, felonies are categorized based on the type of alleged crime.

Capital Felony/Capital Murder

This is the most serious felony charge in Texas. It is reserved for murder charges only. There are also only two potential punishments: life in prison, or the death penalty. Capital felony charges may be brought if you are suspected of criminal homicide. Examples include the murder of a first responder, murder for hire, murder of a child, murder of a court judge, and murder in conjunction with kidnapping, burglary, robbery, rape, or arson.

First Degree Felony Charges in Texas

A first degree felony charge is a serious charge. This charge is reserved for crimes including murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated sexual assault, aggravated assault, and kidnapping. Punishment for conviction of first degree felony charges in Texas includes a minimum prison sentence of 5-99 years, and fines up to $10,000.

Second Degree Felony Charges in Texas

Second degree felony convictions are serious crimes. If convicted of a second degree felony in Texas you may receive a jail or prison sentence of 2-20 years, and fines up to $10,000. Second degree felonies may be elevated to first degree charges in certain circumstances. Examples of second degree felony charges include manslaughter, robbery, and aggravated assault.

Third Degree Felony Charges in Texas

Third degree felony offense charges are serious charges, and conviction may include punishment including 2-10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. Examples of third degree felonies include possession of a firearm as a felon, stalking, deadly conduct with a firearm, and a variety of theft, fraud, and drug possession charges.

State Jail Felony Charges in Texas

A state jail felony charge isn’t classified by a degree, but it is still a felony charge that can result in up to two years of jail time, and fines up to $10,000. State jail felony charges are more serious than a misdemeanor but less serious than a first, second, or third degree felony. Examples of state jail felony charges are often serious but nonviolent crimes such as identity theft, forgery, false reports, credit card fraud, and interference in child custody.

Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney in The Woodlands

If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor or felony in the Woodlands or Houston, contact us today at 832-381-3430. It is essential to begin planning your defense as soon as possible. Andrea Kolski previously served as a prosecutor in Harris County before shifting her focus to represent those accused of crimes in Harris and Montgomery County.

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