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What constitutes a felony offense in Texas?

On Behalf of | Jul 31, 2020 | Criminal Defense

Like all states, Texas distinguishes between misdemeanor and felony crimes. Felony convictions are more serious and usually result in jail time and significant fines.

Explore the common types of felony convictions in Texas and the possible penalties for each offense.

Third-degree felony offenses

Conviction for crimes in this category carries two to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000. Examples of third-degree felonies in Texas include:

  • Failure to register as required on the state sex offender registry
  • Showing a weapon on school property
  • Illegal loans to political candidates, parties or elected officials
  • False report of child neglect or abuse
  • Lottery fraud, insurance fraud or fraud involving public benefits
  • Medical license violations, such as practicing without a valid license

Second-degree felony offenses

Texas considers these crimes more serious than third-degree felonies. Conviction for a second-degree felony carries two to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000. Examples of second-degree felonies include:

  • Voter fraud and other forms of mail fraud
  • Sale or manufacture of a Schedule I controlled substance such as heroin
  • Fraudulent coin-op machine operation
  • Manslaughter

First-degree felony offenses

These are among the most serious criminal offenses in Texas. For conviction of a first-degree felony, the offender could receive five years to life in prison and fines of up to $10,000. First-degree felonies in Texas include:

  • Murder
  • Aggravated sexual assault
  • Aggravated assault
  • Child sexual abuse
  • Human trafficking
  • Aggravated kidnapping
  • Theft of more than $150,000 from a charitable organization
  • Sale or delivery of a controlled substance in a school zone

Capital offenses

These crimes result in a sentence of either the death penalty or life in prison. Offenses in this category include:

  • Genocide
  • Hijacking an aircraft
  • Treason
  • Espionage
  • Premeditated murder and other murder involving aggravated circumstances, such as the death of a police officer

Judges can decide to increase or downgrade charges depending on the specific circumstances of the case. Some of these crimes may also receive federal prosecution.