What is a Felony?

A felony is the highest criminal offense under Texas law. Felonies are considered far more serious than misdemeanors, and as such, the consequences can be far more severe. Depending on the type of offense, Texas felonies can carry punishments ranging from 180 days in jail to life in prison, as well as fines of up to $10,000. In addition to possible incarceration and hefty fines, a felony conviction on your record can cause collateral complications in other aspects of your life, including finding employment, maintaining professional licenses, and having your right to vote, possess a firearm, or hold public office revoked.

Texas law differentiates between 5 different felony types, each one having varied punishment ranges depending on the severity of the offense. Knowing what type of criminal offense you’ve been charged with, as well as the possible punishments you may be facing, can help you when discussing defense strategies with a Texas criminal defense attorney.

State Jail Felony

State Jail Felonies are the lowest level felonies under Texas law. Nevertheless, state jail felonies come with serious penalties that should not be taken lightly. These felonies can carry punishments of between 180 days and 2 years in jail, and/or up to $10,000 in fines.

What are some common examples of Texas State Jail Felonies?

Oftentimes, crimes that are designated as felonies but lack a specified punishment or designated felony degree are treated as state jail felonies by default. Some common examples of Texas state jail felonies include:

  • Theft of a firearm
  • Credit card abuse
  • Unlawful access to stored communications
  • Invasive visual recording

Third-degree Felony

Third-degree felonies consist of more serious crimes, with penalties ranging from 2 to 10 years imprisonment, and/or fines of up to $10,000. These crimes are taken more seriously than state jail felonies and are often pursued by the State more aggressively.

What are some common examples of third-degree felonies??

It is not unusual for the State to enhance state jail felonies to third-degree felonies, depending on the circumstances surrounding the offense. Some examples of third-degree felonies include:

  • Use of firearms on school property
  • Kidnapping
  • Assault
  • Deadly Conduct

Second-degree Felony

Second degree felonies include some of the most serious crimes under Texas law, and can result in very length prison sentences ranging from 2 to 20 years, as well as fines of up to $10,000. Many third-degree felonies will become enhanced to second-degree felonies given certain aggravating factors, such as the victim of a crime being from a protected class such as the elderly, a large amount of illegal substances, or prior convictions.

What are common examples of second-degree felonies?

Many third-degree felonies will become enhanced to second-degree felonies given certain aggravating factors, such as the victim of a crime being from a protected class such as the elderly, a large amount of illegal substances, or prior convictions. Some common examples of second-degree felonies include:

  • Bribery
  • Arson
  • Robbery
  • Manslaughter

First-degree Felony

First-degree felonies are the starkest of the degreed felonies. Punishments can range from 5 to 99 years imprisonment, life in prison, and/or a fine of up to $10,000. A first-degree felony conviction can be devastating, and if you find yourself facing these charges, please do not wait to contact an attorney.

What are some common examples of first-degree felonies?

As is the case for the other degrees of felonies, particularly egregious circumstances can cause lower level felonies to be enhanced to the first-degree. It is important to have a criminal defense attorney analyze your specific case and circumstances to determine the possibility of this happening, and possible ways to prevent such enhancements. Some examples of first-degree felonies include:

  • First-degree murder
  • Attempted capital murder
  • Aggravated robbery
  • Causing a serious bodily injury to a protected class (children, elders, or the disabled)

Capital Felony

Capital felonies are the most serious class of felonies under state law. These offenses carry the most severe penalties of any type of felony; the punishments for any capital felony in Texas is either death or life in prison without the option for parole.

These felony charges are reserved for the most serious offenses, including:

  • Capital Murder
  • Espionage
  • Murder with special circumstances, such as murder of a police officer

No two cases are the same

If you are facing a felony charge, it’s important that you contact a lawyer that can help you navigate this process.

It is crucial that you do not wait to contact a criminal defense attorney. While this article gives some information about Texas felony laws, it is not exhaustive; you should speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney about your case. Many factors can affect your case from beginning to end, so it’s important that you speak with at attorney about your specific circumstances. Being charged with a felony is an incredibly stressful process, and the stakes are high. Ensuring that you have a knowledgeable and seasoned attorney on your side is the first step in safeguarding your future.

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