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How Are Felonies Classified and Punished in Texas?

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By Priscarl Canlas
August 21, 2015

Nearly everyone knows that felonies are more serious than misdemeanors. What most people don’t know, however, is that Texas has a unique way of categorizing felony offenses. Not all felonies are created equal and the state is intentional about utilizing punishments that fit the crime.

If you or a loved one is facing charges for a felony offense, it is entirely natural to have questions about potential penalties. After all, being convicted of a felony can have a permanent impact on the rest of your life. The information below can address many of your questions and help you understand Texas’ way of punishing these serious offenses.

What are the Four Categories of Felony Offenses?

According to state law, each felony category is based on the severity of the offense and the number of offenses previously committed by the alleged criminal. There are four total categories with each one also including possible penalties the offender could face if convicted.

The five felony categories in Texas are:

  1. State jail felonies: Examples of this offense include a third offense of theft, possession of a controlled substance under 1 gram, and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Penalties range from six months to two years in a state jail facility and a fine of up to $10,000.
  2. Third degree felonies: Examples of this offense include deadly conduct with a firearm, indecent exposure to a child, and intoxication assault. Penalties range from two to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  3. Second degree felonies: Examples of this offense include arson, sexual assault, manslaughter, and possession of 50 to 2,000 pounds of marijuana. Penalties range from two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  4. First degree felony: Examples of this offense include aggravated robbery, arson of habitation, and aggravated kidnapping. Penalties can include five years to life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  5. Capital felonies: Examples of this offense include murder of a public safety officer and murder coupled with certain other felonies, such as robbery or sexual assault. In Texas, capital felonies are punishable by death by lethal injection or life imprisonment without parole.

Defend Your Charges with a Katy Criminal Defense Attorney

Felony offenses should be treated seriously right from the start. The sooner you retain a criminal defense lawyer, the better your chances of securing a favorable outcome. I am a former district attorney who understands both sides of the courtroom, a perspective that can be highly advantageous as you seek to dismantle the prosecutor’s argument.

My firm is dedicated to your best interests and will work tirelessly throughout the entirety of your case. Don’t show up in the courtroom unprepared – fight your felony charges with a firm that cares! Contact Mandy Miller Legal, PLLC today to find out how I can assist you.

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