What are the Differences Between Misdemeanors and Felonies in TX?
If you or a loved one was charged with a criminal offense in Texas, it is normal to be stressed out and confused—but you are certainly not alone. According to data provided by the Texas State Records, there were more than 530,000 arrests in the state in 2020 alone. The most common criminal offenses that led to arrests in Texas include:
- Drug Violations: 88,651
- Simple Assault: 79,423
- Intoxicated Driving (DUI): 60,906
- Larceny (Theft): 42,762
In Texas, all criminal charges can be classified into two broad categories — felonies and misdemeanors. The primary difference is the severity of the offense. Our Fort Worth criminal defense attorney explains the key things to know about the differences between a misdemeanor charge and a felony charge in Texas.
An Overview of Misdemeanor Charges in Texas
A misdemeanor is the less severe type of criminal offense in Texas. It would be a mistake to view a misdemeanor as a “minor problem” or “no big deal.” A conviction for a misdemeanor will end up on your permanent criminal record. It can also carry jail time. In Texas, misdemeanor offenses are generally non-violent crimes that do not involve serious financial losses for an innocent party. They carry less than one year of jail. There are three categories of misdemeanors:
- Class C Misdemeanor: The least serious type of misdemeanor offense, a Class C misdemeanor carries a maximum $500 fine and no jail time.
- Class B Misdemeanor: The middle tier of misdemeanor offenses in Texas, a Class B misdemeanor can carry a maximum $2,000 fine and up to 180 days in jail.
- Class A Misdemeanor: The most serious type of offense before a felony, a Class A misdemeanor carries a maximum of $4,000 fine and up to one year in jail.
An Overview of Felony Charges in Texas
A felony offense is the more serious classification of criminal charge in Texas. All felony charges carry the potential for more than one year imprisonment. Many felonies carry the potential for a far lengthier jail term. A felony may be charged for a violent criminal offense, major drug trafficking, or major financial fraud. There are five sub-categories of felonies in Texas:
- State Jail Felony: Up to two years in jail and a $10,000 fine.
- Third-Degree Felony: Up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
- Second-Degree Felony: Up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
- First-Degree Felony: A maximum sentence of life in prison.
- Capital Felony: A maximum life imprisonment without the possibility of parole or the death penalty.
Schedule a Confidential Consultation With a Fort Worth, TX Criminal Defense Lawyer
At The Law Office of Kyle Whitaker, our Fort Worth criminal defense attorney is standing by, ready to fight for your rights. If you were charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, we can help. Contact us now for a completely confidential, no commitment initial legal consultation. From our legal office in Fort Worth, we serve communities throughout Tarrant County, including in Arlington, Flower Mound, Grapevine, Mansfield, Grand Prairie, Bedford, and North Richlands Hills.