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Understanding Different Degrees Of Criminal Charges


If you were recently charged with a criminal offense in Texas, or if you were arrested for an offense and could soon be facing charges, it is important to understand the different degrees of charges and their relative severity. It can be confusing to understand how misdemeanors and felonies are classified in Texas and whether a particular class of misdemeanor is more or less serious than another class. Similarly, with felony charges, it can be difficult to know immediately whether a third degree felony or a second degree felony is the more serious charge. Our Temple criminal defense attorneys can provide you with more information about the way Texas classifies criminal charges, and we can speak with you today about getting started on a defense strategy.

Misdemeanors: Class C Through Class A 

Misdemeanors are less serious offenses than felonies, but it is important to know that these are still criminal charges. Accordingly, if you are convicted of a misdemeanor offense, you will have a criminal record. Misdemeanors in Texas are classified from Class C misdemeanors through Class A misdemeanors. Class C misdemeanors are the least serious of the misdemeanor offenses. After a Class C misdemeanor, the next classification is a Class B misdemeanor. Then, the most serious of the misdemeanor offenses is a Class A misdemeanor. The ranging severity of these offenses becomes clear in the possible penalties for each, which include the following:

  • Class C misdemeanor: Maximum fine of $500;
  • Class B misdemeanor: Maximum fine of $2,000 and up to 180 days in jail; and
  • Class A misdemeanor: Maximum fine of $4,000 and up to 1 year in jail.

Common examples of Class C misdemeanors include theft of property with a value of under $100 and simple assault. Common Class B misdemeanors include DWIs and criminal trespassing. Class A misdemeanors, which are the most serious class of misdemeanor offense, include subsequent DWIs and assault with bodily injury.

Felonies: State Jail Felony Through Capital Felony 

Felony offenses are the most serious type of criminal offenses. The least serious type of felony, which is still more serious than any misdemeanor, is the state jail felony. Then, a third-degree felony is the next most serious type of felony. Second-degree felony offenses are more serious than third-degree felonies. Then, first-degree felonies are more serious than second-degree felonies. The most serious type of felony offense in Texas is the capital felony, which can result in execution. A first-degree felony can result in a sentence of up to life in prison, while a second-degree felony can result in up to 20 years in prison. Even a third-degree felony can result in a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, while a state jail felony can have a sentence of up to 2 years in jail.

Contact a Temple Criminal Defense Lawyer 

Whether you have already been charged with an offense, were arrested but waiting to see if you will be charged, or merely under investigation for a criminal offense, it is critical to have a criminal defense lawyer on your side. An experienced Temple criminal defense attorney at The Law Office of Katie L. Gomez, PLLC can assist you with your case. We can evaluate the facts surrounding your case, and we can discuss potential defense strategies that may be available to you.



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