Crimes are defined by a body of federal and state rules that outlaw behaviors that the government deems harmful to society. This is the foundation of criminal law. If someone violates the law, they are guilty of a crime and prosecuted in court. In most cases, the goal is to find a suitable punishment based on the severity of the crime. For felony charges, the penalties in Texas can be quite severe depending on the level of severity. Here are the different types of felony charges in Texas and what you should know about their penalties.
Texas Felony Crimes
State Jail Felonies
The least severe form of a felony is a state jail felony. This charge applies if you are convicted of possessing any controlled substance under the amount of one gram. The punishment also applies to instances of auto theft or the unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. The punishment for state jail felonies ranges from six months in prison to two years. Some offenders can also be hit with a fine of up to $10,000.
Crimes that are more severe than state jail felonies may be classified as third-degree felonies. These are severe crimes that fail to result in any permanent harm or injury such as the reckless usage or discharging of a firearm or assaulting someone while being intoxicated. Other crimes that are classified as third-degree felonies include indecent exposure to a child or reckless endangerment. Those convicted of a third-degree felony face a longer prison term of between two years and 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Second-degree felonies are a category of crimes that are more damaging and dangerous, where harm is caused to the victims. Crimes that fit into this category include arson, manslaughter, and sexual assault. It also includes anyone caught with 50 to 2,000 pounds of marijuana. The punishment for second-degree felonies is prison time of between two years and 20 years and a $10,000 fine.
This is the second most serious felony, where those convicted of robbery, kidnapping, and arson of habitation are classified under. The punishment for a first-degree felony is between five years to life in prison and a fine of $10,000.
The highest form of a felony in the state of Texas is a capital felony. It includes the murder of a public safety or police officer. It also includes murderers who were charged with simultaneous felonies like robbery or sexual assault. Not every state uses capital punishment, but in Texas, capital felons can face a death sentence or life in prison without a chance of parole.
Texas Misdemeanor Offenses
Misdemeanor offenses are considered less serious than felonies and are classified into three categories:
Class C Misdemeanors
- Theft of property at $20 or under
- Assault without bodily injury
- Producing or celling term papers or reports for others
- Attending a dog fight
- $500 fine
Class B Misdemeanors
- Theft of property valued between $20 and $500
- Driving while intoxicated
- Possession of up to four ounces of marijuana
- Making terroristic threats
- $2,000 fine and 180 days in jail
Class A Misdemeanors
- Theft of property valued between $500 and 1,500
- Theft of cable service
- Stalking without bodily injury
- $4,000 fine and one year in jail
Special Sentencing Circumstances
Although these guides provide a general overview of how Texas law handles various crimes, there are certain circumstances that require unique considerations that may alter the punishment specified by these sentencing guidelines. Take this situation for example: A 21-year old commits their first criminal offense and is charged with a Class B Misdemeanour for prank calling 911. They were peer pressured by their friends and were deeply remorseful for their actions. In this situation, it is up to the judge’s discretion to choose to waive county jail time, and settle with a fine as punishment.
Here are some of the common factors that judges consider when applying a punishment:
- Whether the defendant is a first-time or repeat offender
- Whether they were an accomplice or the primary offender
- Whether they committed the crime under tremendous stress or duress
- Whether anyone was harmed and whether the crime was committed in a way that was unlikely to cause harm
- Whether the defendant was cruel to the victim or destructive
- Whether the defendant was genuinely remorseful or sorry
How PCS Bail Bonds Can Help
The process of bail bonds in Texas can be complicated but with the assistance of a licensed bail bondsman, you can get the direction and support you need to get out of jail, even if the bail amount is high. Being charged for a felony or misdemeanor can lead to serious consequences, so if you need time to process the situation and build your defense, it will be much easier outside of a jail cell.
PCS Bail Bonds can help you if you need to post bail or need advice about your situation. We provide 24-hour bail bonds for all kinds of charges including theft, drug possession, embezzlement, assault, and more. Our experienced agents can help you obtain a bond in a fraction of the time it takes at other agencies.
We have professional memberships in several renowned associations including the Professional Bondsmen of Texas, Tarrant County Bar Association, and Professional Bondsmen of Tarrant County. We serve clients in Fort Worth, Texas, and other municipalities in Tarrant County. We process our clients’ requests quickly and efficiently. Our bond agents are always on call and we can be down to the jail in under 30 minutes.
Contact us now by phone at 817-335-1655, at our e-mail, visit in-person, or fill out our bail bond request form. You can be confident that you’re working with experts who are dedicated to helping you.