What's the Difference Between Felonies & Misdemeanors in Texas?

In general, people are aware that there is a difference between felonies and misdemeanors. They know that felonies are for the more severe crimes and misdemeanors are for the less serious crimes. But not everyone understands the details involved with the various crimes.

Felonies typically involve some sort of physical harm ( or the threat of physical harm). However, physical harm is not a requirement for all felonies. For example, white collar crimes can be categorized as felonies and they do not require physical harm.

Each state is different, but a felony conviction will generally lead to a minimum of one year in prison. A felony conviction may also lead to the death penalty. Texas law contains the following types of felony classifications:

  1. Capital Felony: Punishable by life in prison, life without parole, or the death penalty.
  2. First Degree Felony: Punishable by life in prison or for any term of not more than 99 years or less than 5 years. In addition, a fine will be imposed of no more than $10,000.
  3. Second Degree Felony: Punishable by a prison term of 2-20 years. In addition, a fine will be imposed of no more than $10,000
  4. Third Degree Felony: Punishable by a prison term of 2-10 years. In addition, a fine will be imposed of no more than $10,000.
  5. State Jail Felony: Punishable by confinement in a state jail for 180 days to 2 years. In addition, a fine will be imposed of no more than $10,000.

Misdemeanor offenses are less serious crimes, but are still punishable through jail time and fines. Misdemeanors may also include penalties such as community service, probation, and restitution. Texas law classifies misdemeanors in the following three categories:

  1. Class A Misdemeanor: Punishable through no more than one year in jail and/or a fine no more than $4,000.
  2. Class B Misdemeanor: Punishable by a jail term of no more than 180 days and/or a fine of no more than $2,000.
  3. Class C Misdemeanor: Punishable by a fine of no more than $500.

Penalties will be different if a corporation is convicted of a crime, rather than an individual. Generally, corporations will be sentenced with fines, rather than any sort of jail or prison time.The following is usually the penalties associated with corporations:

  1. Felony: Punishable by $20,000 if the offense is a felony of any category.
  2. Class A or B Misdemeanor: Punishable by $10,000.
  3. Class C Misdemeanor: Punishable by a fine of $2,000.
  4. Felony or Class A Misdemeanor which results in the death or serious bodily injury of an individual: Punishable by $50,000.

As I noted above, each state is different and that is why it is important to work with a local attorney who is experienced in criminal defense in your state. At The Wilder Firm, we have helped numerous clients who were facing various felony and misdemeanor charges.

We understand that facing criminal charges is a very difficult time in a person’s life. This is not the time to put your trust in the wrong person! Do not hesitate to call us today at (214) 855-7737.

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