Classification of Crimes & Sentencing Guidelines for Texas

Charges for crimes and their related penalties vary in Texas depending on the defendant’s history and nature of the crime. The State of Texas is among other US States that have the determinate sentencing system in place. This sentencing system allows them to formulate sentencing guidelines that determine the type of sentencing an offender will receive for a particular crime. The sentencing levels that apply to Texas include Class C misdemeanor, Class B misdemeanor, Class A misdemeanor, State Jail felony, Third Degree felony, First Degree felony and Capital felony in ascending order.

Texas Misdemeanor Offenses

Class C Misdemeanors

Ranked as the lowest level of criminal offenses by the Texas law, Class C misdemeanors attract a fine of a maximum of $500. The offenders don’t face any jail term. However, they go through court trials in a Justice of the Peace Court, Traffic Court or Municipal Court. Examples of these misdemeanors include disorderly conduct, gambling and traffic citations.

Class B Misdemeanors

An offender found guilty of committing crimes classified under Class B misdemeanors can pay a fine of not more than $2,000. The offender may also face 180 days of sentencing in a county jail. Crimes that attract these penalties are prostitution, harassment, DUI and possession of not more than 2 ounces of marijuana.

Class A Misdemeanors

Considered as the worst type of misdemeanor, a Class A misdemeanor offender can pay a fine of about $4,000. The offender can also face up to 2 years of probation. Crimes that attract these penalties include theft of a check, resisting arrest and possession of 2 to 4 ounces of marijuana.


Texas Felony Crimes

Unlike the misdemeanor offenses, felonies are the most serious criminal offenses. Felony crimes in Texas fall into four categories. They include State Jail felony, Third Degree felony, First Degree felony and Capital felony.

State Jail Felony

This state criminal offense attracts a fine of up to $2,000 and sentencing of a minimum of 180 days. The Texas Penal Code Sec. 12.44 states that the court may reduce the penalties associated to this type of crime. Its common examples include forging a check, credit card abuse and cruelty to animals.

Third Degree Felony

Third degree felonies attract a prison time of 2 to 10 years. Offenders also get to undergo probation or pay a fine of $10,000. Examples of Third Degree felonies include stalking, deadly conduct with a firearm and tampering with evidence.

Second Degree Felony

This type of felony attracts a fine of not more than $10,000 and prison time of 2 to 20 years. Offenders may also go through probation depending with the court ruling. Examples of Second Degree felonies include indecent contact with a child, cocaine possession, human trafficking and robbery.

First Degree Felony

First degree felony offenders face prison time of 5 to 99 years or pay a maximum fine of $10,000. They also get possible community supervision (also known as probation). Common examples of the felony include attempted capital murder, causing a serious bodily injury and aggravated kidnapping.

Capital Felony

Ranked as the worst criminal offenses, capital felonies in Texas can attract life imprisonment or death. They include premeditated capital murder, genocide and espionage. Treason, death resulting from aircraft hijacking and murder with special circumstances also fall under capital felonies.