In the State of Texas, a felony is a crime that is punishable by the convicted person doing time either in a state prison or state jail. In other words, such charges are serious. All felonies, however, are not weighted equally, and they range from capital felonies all the way down to state jail felonies. Understanding the inherent distinctions is often helpful.
As the name implies, a capital felony refers to an extremely serious charge that can lead to a sentence of life without parole – or even to a death sentence. An example of a capital felony is murder.
A first-degree felony conviction can result in a sentence of from 5 to 99 years in prison – or life imprisonment – and to fines of up to $10,000. An example of a first-degree felony in the State of Texas is a conviction of sexual assault against a child.
In Texas, a second-degree felony conviction can lead to anywhere from 2 to 20 years in prison and to a fine of up to $10,000. An example of a second-degree felony is selling 5 to 50 pounds of marijuana.
A third-degree felony conviction can carry from 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. One such example is promoting prostitution.
State Jail Felony
State jail felonies are a bit different. If a crime is identified as a felony but is not otherwise classified or does not have a specific sentence attached, the crime is a state jail felony, which can lead to a sentence of from 180 days to 2 years in a state jail and to fines of up to $10,000.
If the state jail felony in question is mitigated by either of the following, the court must invoke third-degree felony terms of punishment:
- A deadly weapon was used or brandished in the crime’s commission.
- The defendant has a specific type of prior felony conviction, such as sexual assault, human trafficking, burglary, and others.
If you are charged with a felony, the type of felony you are charged with can play a significant role in the penalties you face. While every felony charge is unique to the circumstances involved, it is critical that you work with an experienced criminal lawyer who will skillfully fight in the protection of your rights. The negative consequences of having a felony on your record are considerable, and you owe it to yourself and your future to present your strongest defense.