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The Five Types of Felony Charges in Texas and Their Penalties

Scales of Justice Felony Charges

Texas takes it’s felony charges very seriously. Nearly all felony crimes committed in Texas have punishments that require either state prison or jail time. They are offenses that you cannot take lightly given the severe penalties that come with them.

If you or a loved one is being charged with a felony offense, you may have questions about what will happen next. While each situation is unique, Texas has specific classifications that the courts must follow. Each felony designation carries its own potential punishments. The first step is understanding the different types of felonies in Texas and the punishments that come with those offenses.

Types of Felonies

In Texas, felonies fall under the category of capital felonies. A capital offense encompasses first, second and third-degree felonies, or state jail felonies.

State Jail Felonies

When the state considers a crime to be a felony but fails to designate it under one of the three felony categories, it is deemed a state jail felony. Some examples state jail felony crimes include theft of a firearm, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle or possessing less than one gram of a controlled substance. State jail felonies can be punishable by up to two years in state jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

Third Degree Felonies

The lowest designation of a felony is a third-degree felony, which is punishable by 2-10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. A few examples of crimes that are designated as third-degree felonies include promoting prostitution, indecent exposure to a child, and committing assault while intoxicated.

Second Degree Felonies

Second-degree felonies in Texas include crimes such as manslaughter, arson, and sexual assault. A second-degree felony conviction can result in up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up $10,000.

First Degree Felonies

Crimes, including sexual assault against a child, aggravated kidnapping, or armed robbery, are considered first degree felonies. First-degree felony convictions in texas come with a sentence of five years up to life in prison as well as a $10,000 fine.

Capital Felonies

In Texas, capital felonies include the murder of a public official, or when coupled with another felony such as sexual assault or armed robbery. Capitol felonies committed in texas are punishable by death or life in prison without parole.

There are laws in place about classifications and what constitutes different types of felonies. However, the severity of the punishment is still correlated to the crime. Judges often take into consideration the defendant’s record and circumstances under which the crime was committed when designating the overall charges and punishments.

If you’ve been charged with a felony offense, it’s vital to take these circumstances seriously. Don’t rely on internet advice to guide you into taking the next steps. It’s time to retain a Houston criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to help secure the best possible outcome for your situation.

If you are facing felony charges, call the offices of Christopher T. Gore to find out how he can represent your case.

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Dealing with Felony Charges in Houston, Texas

Houston Texas Hearing Courtroom

Being convicted of a felony is a consequential event that should be taken seriously. A felony charge can come with severe consequences that can follow you for the rest of your life. In Texas, felonies can come with hefty punishments including prison time, costly fines, and in more severe cases, the death penalty. Felonies can also make it more challenging to secure employment and could affect your record for your entire life. 

In Texas, being charged with a felony usually comes after committing a crime that involves inflicting substantial or grave harm onto another person. Additionally, some white-collar crimes such as fraud or embezzlement are also classified as felonies. 

In Texas, felonies are classified into five categories: Capital Felony, First Degree Felony, Second Degree Felony, Third Degree Felony, and State Jail Felony.

Let’s go over how different crimes fall under each classification and the potential punishment for each. 

Capital Felonies

The most serious felonies are labeled as capital offenses, and they come with the most severe punishment, including life in prison without parole or possibly the death penalty. Murder of a public servant is one example of a capital felony offense. 

First Degree Felony

First Degree felony offenses are the next most serious classification following Capital Felonies. Examples of First Degree Felonies include aggravated sexual assault, aggravated robbery, and murder. 

First Degree Felonies may be punished with Punishments for a first-degree felony may include life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. 

Second Degree Felony

Second Degree felonies include certain domestic violence offenses, including causing serious injury to a family member. Under Texas law, a second-degree felony could be punishable by up to 20 years in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000

Third Degree Felony

Third-degree felonies, while less grave than the first two, still carry serious punishment and can result in up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. A common third-degree felony is the possession of marijuana with intent to distribute in an amount of 5-50 pounds. 

State Jail Felony

State Jail Felonies don’t carry a particular designation or have specific sentences. They are often viewed on a case-by-case basis. State Jail Felonies can be punishable with 180 days to two years of jail time and a monetary fine of up to $10,000. 

What to do if you’re charged with a felony

If you’ve been charged with a felony, don’t take the situation lightly. It’s time to find an attorney who understands the severity of the situation and can help you know what it means for your life moving forward. 

Even though felony crimes carry serious weight, the right Houston felony attorney can help you manage the outcome of your situation and know what to expect moving forward. 

The right felony defense attorney will be able to understand your situation and offer you the best options available for your unique situation. 

Remember that the internet is not the right place to find legal advice specific to your case. Every case is different, and you need a personalized plan that will apply to your unique situation. If you are facing a misdemeanor offense in Houston, call  Christoper T. Gore. Learn more about how he can best represent your case and help you move forward.