Galveston Criminal Defense Lawyers
Serving the people of Galveston County since 1991.
An Overview of Texas Criminal Classifications
Not All Crimes Are Equal
It’s not uncommon for our clients to inquire about the difference between a Felony of the 3rd Degree and a Felony of the 2nd Degree as much as what it means to have a criminal charge reduced.
To answer those two questions, the differences between the two felony criminal classifications are outlined below. As far as how best to understand a criminal charge reduction, it basically means pleading guilty to a lesser offense. In other words, having a charge reduced to the next less severe level of criminal classification.
For a better illustration of the differences in how the State of Texas classifies crimes, review the information below.
Misdemeanor Criminal Classifications
Class C Misdemeanor
Class C Misdemeanor offenses are non-jailable and punishable by a fine of not more than $500.00.
Examples of such offenses include Public Intoxication, Alcohol Possession by a Juvenile, Petty Theft, and some traffic offenses. In most cases, Class C Misdemeanor classifications are reserved for juveniles and minor civil offenses.
Class B Misdemeanor
Class B Misdemeanor offenses are jailable crimes (for up to 180 days county jail) and punishable by a fine not to exceed $2,000.00.
Common Class B Misdemeanor offenses filed in Galveston, TX include DWI, DUI, marijuana possession, property theft, terroristic threats, writing hot child support checks, and disorderly conduct to name a few.
Class A Misdemeanor
Class A Misdemeanor offenses are punishable by a county jail sentence of up to 1 year and a fine of up to $4,000.00.
Examples of Class A Misdemeanor offenses include habitual DWI, first-offense domestic violence, possession of marijuana (between 2 & 4 ounces), and resisting arrest to name a few.
Felony Criminal Classifications
State Jail Felony
A State Jail Felony is a light felony charge that’s more severe than a misdemeanor but not as threatening to society as a felony offense. However, state jail felonies are technically felony offenses. State Jail Felony convictions are punishable by a fine of up to $10,000.00 and a state jail sentence of 6 months to 2 years.
Examples of State Jail Felony offenses include burglary, check forgery, criminally negligent homicide, habitual DWI, possession of controlled substances, and animal cruelty to name a handful.
Felony of the Third Degree
A 3rd Degree Felony is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000.00 and a prison sentence ranging from 2 to 10 years.
Examples of 3rd Degree Felony criminal offenses include habitual DWI, kidnapping & unlawful restraint, certain assault cases, possession or distribution of controlled substances, negligent homicide – manslaughter, certain sex crimes and others.
Felony of the Second Degree
A 2nd Degree Felony is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000.00* and a prison sentence ranging from 2 to 20 years.
Examples of 2nd Degree Felony offenses include criminal homicide, possession & distribution of controlled substances, habitual drunk driving, habitual domestic violence, arson, sex crimes, robbery, habitual stalking, and improper teacher-student relationships to name a few.
Felony of the First Degree
A 1st Degree Felony is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000.00* and a prison sentence ranging from 5 to 99 years.
Examples of 1st Degree Felony offenses include sex crimes, criminal homicide, possession or distribution of controlled substances, aggravated 2nd degree offenses and habitual DWI to cover a few.
Capital felonies tend to be life & death cases. Meaning you get the death penalty or life in prison.
Examples of capital felonies include murder, murder of a public servant, murder in the commission of a felony offense, retaliation, or sexual offense.
More on Fines
There are circumstances where fines can be significantly higher than $10,000.00. Habitual drug traffickers, people who commit significant property damage or homicide as a result of DWI, and other specific offenses can warrant fines as high as $250,000.00.
If you have questions or need our help, don’t hesitate to contact our law firm at 409-765-5614.