From State Jail to Capital Felonies: Criminal Laws and Punishments in Texas

Criminal Laws

Criminal LawsAccording to Texas criminal laws, felonies are criminal activities that are punishable by serving time in state jail or state prison. Misdemeanors or less severe crimes are, on the other hand, punishable only by up to a year in a county or local jail.

The categorization of felonies, as noted by David A. Nachtigall, is as follows:

State Jail Felonies

A state jail felony under Texas criminal laws is punishable by 180 days up to two years of incarceration in a state jail, plus a $10,000 fine. If a judge determines a criminal activity as a felony, but can’t elect it as a specific felony type or determine a particular sentence for it, it will be considered a state jail felony. A judge can turn a state jail felony conviction into a third degree felony conviction under special circumstances, however.

First, Second, and Third Degree Felonies

While the punishment for these three Texas felony categories depends on the severity of the crime committed, the following are some general guidelines:

  • First Degree Felony – Once convicted of a first degree felony such as sexual assault on a minor, the defendant may receive a punishment of five to 99 years in prison and need to pay a $10,000 fine.
  • Second Degree Felony – A second degree felony, such as causing severe injuries to a family member, is punishable by two to 20 years imprisonment and a hefty $10,000 fine.
  • Third Degree Felony – A third felony conviction such as possessing five to 50 pounds of marijuana, is punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Capital Felonies

A capital felony, like murder, is punishable with a life sentence without the chance of parole or a death penalty. If the defendant is a minor during the time he committed the murder and the prosecutor decides not to push for the death penalty, the defendant will get life imprisonment.

Getting charged with felony in Texas could have severe consequences. With this in mind, if you find yourself facing a felony charge, the best thing to do is avoid a conviction by asking for assistance from an experienced criminal lawyer. Your lawyer will guide you through the whole legal process and make sure  your legal rights will be protected.