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Texas Misdemeanor & Felony Charges

If you have been charged with committing a crime in Austin, Texas, chances are you have no idea what you are facing. The State of Texas has a system to determine sentencing, and part of that system is the distinction between crimes that constitute a misdemeanor and crimes that constitute a felony. The crime you allegedly committed must fit into one of these two categories, and that category serves as the basis for the penalties you could face if convicted of the crime.

The first thing to consider: you are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. So, fight the charge.

The second thing to consider, if you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony: you need an experienced lawyer. Never plead guilty to a misdemeanor or felony without the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Jason English has the experience and insight and can review your case, outline your options, and develop a comprehensive strategy for your defense.

A charge means you are at risk of a conviction that leads to potential confinement and fines, among other penalties. You are also risking a criminal record, that could have a negative impact on your life… for the rest of your life. The impact can be as little as being denied housing or as big as losing a professional license or custody of your children.

Here's an overview of what you should know about misdemeanors and felonies in the State of Texas.

Texas Misdemeanor Crimes and Penalties

Misdemeanor crimes in Texas are less serious than felony crimes. Misdemeanors are categorized into classes: Class A, B, and C. Potential penalties for any given crime correspond to the classification of that crime, which can be found in Tex. Penal Code §§ 12.21-12.23.

  Jail Fines Crimes

Class C

No jail time

Up to $500

  • Public intoxication
  • DUI as minor
  • Assault
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia

Class B

Up to 180 days in jail

Up to $2,000

Class A

Up to 1 year in county jail

Up to $4,000

  • DWI Second Offense
  • Assault with bodily injury
  • Possession of marijuana (2-4 oz.)

In many instances, other penalties will make up part of the sentencing, like community supervision and treatment programs. It depends on the circumstances and the charges.

In other instances, some first-time offenders may be eligible for deferred adjudication. This means that before a trial, you agree to plead guilty or no contest, and the court accepts that plea. In turn, you must complete probation. If you do, the case will be dismissed and you end up with no criminal conviction.

Texas Felony Crimes and Penalties

Felony crimes in Texas are more serious than misdemeanors and pose the most risk to your rights and freedoms. Felonies are classified according to degrees, and the Felony degree is the basis for the penalties you may face if convicted of the crime. These penalties can be found in Tex. Penal Code §§ 12.31-12.35.

​Jail ​Fines Felony Examples​

State Jail Felony

180 days - 2 years

Up to $10,000

  • DWI with a child passenger
  • Possession of a controlled substance (<1 gram)

Third Degree

2-10 years

Up to $10,000

  • DWI Third Offense
  • Intoxication Assault
  • Possession of a firearm as a felon

Second Degree

2-20 years

Up to $10,000

  • Aggravated Assault
  • Possession of Marijuana (50-20,000 pounds)
  • Manslaughter
  • Intoxication Manslaughter

First Degree

5-99 years

Up to $10,000

  • Aggravated Assault
  • Aggravated Robbery
  • Murder

Capital Felony                 

Life imprisonment or death

 
  • Capital Murder

These penalties are standard, but depending on the circumstances, penalties can be enhanced. For instance, in an enhanced felony for delivery of a controlled substance, fines can well exceed $10,000 and in some cases reach upwards to $250,000.

On the other hand, penalties can be reduced if the classification is reduced. According to Tex. Penal Code § 12.44, a state jail felony can be reduced to a misdemeanor that results in no jail time.

As a reminder: a conviction of a felony means you have a criminal record. A criminal record results in collateral consequences where finding a job or housing or obtaining a loan or professional license can become more difficult. The same holds true for misdemeanor convictions. But unlike misdemeanors, as a convicted felon, you can also lose your right to vote and your right to own and use a firearm.

Felonies are very serious, and as such, must be taken seriously.

Comprehensive Austin, TX Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony in Austin, Texas, it is important to fight the charge. Finding an experienced, resourceful criminal defense attorney who knows how the prosecutor's office operates is key to your defense. Jason English, a former Assistant District Attorney with the Travis County District Attorney's Office, has the experience -- including trial expertise -- and the insight to develop a strong defense for you. Contact his office either online or at 512-454-7548 today.

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