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Felony Crimes in Texas

What you need to know

Felony Crimes in Texas

Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 12

Felony crimes are defined by Chapter 1, §1.07 of the Texas Penal Code as “an offense so designated by law or punishable by death or confinement in a penitentiary”. Felony crimes are considered the most serious offenses, and are prosecuted in federal court by the U.S. Attorney General’s office. The only felony cases which are not tried by federal prosecutors in the State of Texas are State Jail felonies and capital felonies. Texas is one of 30 states which still practices the use of capital punishment in abhorrent circumstances, and these crimes are prosecuted by the State of Texas.

Classes of Felonies in Texas & Punishments

There are 5 classifications of Felony crimes in Texas, and the punishments for each vary depending on the severity of the crime.

First Degree Felony

  • Minimum of 5, maximum of 99 years in prison.

  • Up to a $10,000 fine.

  • Examples: Burglary; theft of property valued at $500 or more, but less than $1,500; theft of cable service; stalking without bodily injury

Second Degree Felony

  • Minimum of 2, maximum of 20 years in prison.

  • Up to a $10,000 fine.

  • Examples: Theft of property valued at less than $20; assault without bodily injury; producing or selling term papers or reports for use by others; attending a dog fight

Third Degree Felony

  • Minimum of 2, maximum of 10 years in prison.

  • Up to a $10,000 fine.

  • Examples: Theft of property valued at $20 or more, but less than $500; driving while intoxicated; possession of up to 4 ounces of marijuana; making terroristic threats

State Jail Felony

  • Minimum of 180 days, maximum of 2 years in prison.

  • Up to a $10,000 fine.

Special Provisions |

Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 12

The Texas Penal Code has provisions for the punishment of misdemeanor crimes in specific circumstances.

Repeat Offenses (Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 12.43)

  • Those who are found guilty of a Class A misdemeanor crime in Texas, and who have a prior Class A misdemeanor or felony conviction, must serve a minimum of 90 days in jail for the offense.

  • Those who are found guilty of a Class B misdemeanor crime in Texas, and who have a prior Class A misdemeanor, Class B misdemeanor, or any felony conviction, must serve a minimum of 90 days in jail for the offense.

  • Those who are found guilty of a Class C misdemeanor crime in Texas, and who have had three or more prior offenses of the same charge, or a combination of three Class C misdemeanor offense, may be sentenced to up to 180 days in jail, and may be issued a fine up to $2,000

Hate Crimes (Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 12.47)

  • If an individual commits a Class B or Class C misdemeanor, and the offense is found to have been committed due to a racial prejudice or bias, the punishment is increased to the next highest level of severity (Class C is treated as a Class B is treated as a Class A). For Class A Misdemeanors, a mandatory minimum sentence of 180 days in jail is imposed.

Use of Controlled Substances While Committing a Crime (Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 12.49)

  • If an individual commits a Class B or Class C misdemeanor, and the offense is found to have been committed while under the influence of a controlled substance, the punishment is increased to the next highest level of severity (Class C is treated as a Class B is treated as a Class A). For Class A Misdemeanors, a mandatory minimum sentence of 180 days in jail is imposed.

The full online archive of the Texas Constitution and Statutes is available through https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/