Felonies, Misdemeanors, and Infractions: The Basics

gavel and handcuffs
Criminal charges in the State of Texas are by no means one-size-fits-all. Such charges are divided into categories that are based on the relative severity of the associated crime. Further, each category has its own leniency potential that is based on the nature of the crime. A first-time conviction of a misdemeanor, for example, is far more likely to be sentenced with probation than is a first-time conviction of a felony. Each category has its own range of punishments that are specifically calibrated to correspond to the severity of the offense in question.


In the State of Texas, an infraction is the least severe classification of criminal offense. Infractions generally refer to offenses that do not rise to the level of requiring arrest but still require legal action. These offenses include:

  • Minor traffic violations
  • Public nuisance charges
  • Jaywalking charges

While police officers may write citations for such offenses, they will rarely make an arrest. The consequences generally involve a fine, community service, and/or mandatory educational classes. Infractions can sometimes be cleared from one’s record.


The next level of criminal offense is the misdemeanor, which can warrant arrest but generally does not incur lengthy jail time. Misdemeanors can include:

While you may be arrested and booked into jail for a misdemeanor charge, it is unlikely that your bail will be set excessively high – most people are able to make bail after such a charge. The penalties associated with a misdemeanor conviction can include no more than a year in jail, fines, and probation. Misdemeanors are further classified according to severity – Class A is the most serious, and Class C is the least. Misdemeanor charges are sometimes elevated to felony charges based on the defendant’s criminal history and/or the seriousness of the offense.


In the Texas criminal justice system, felonies are the most serious charges. The crimes involved can range anywhere from aggravated assault to capital murder. Felony charges nearly always result in arrest and incarceration. Common felony charges include:

The penalties associated with a felony conviction are quite harsh and can include lengthy prison sentences, costly fines, and felony parole. If you are convicted of a felony, you can even lose certain personal freedoms, such as the right to vote, the right to work in certain careers, and the right to live in certain places.

If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense, Consult with a Lawyer Today

If you are facing criminal charges, it is serious, and your rights and freedom are far too important to leave to chance. Attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is a formidable Killeen criminal lawyer with years of experience helping clients like you. Our dedicated legal team is on your side, so please do not hesitate to contact us or call us at (254) 220-4225 for more information today.


Related Posts
  • What You Need to Know if You Have Been Charged with a Crime in Texas Read More
  • Consent and Sexual Assault Laws in Texas Read More
  • The Questions that Criminal Defense Attorneys Hear Most Often Read More