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What is a state jail felony?

| Feb 9, 2021 | Criminal Defense

Most people are aware that most crimes are either misdemeanors or felonies. Most people are also aware that there are varying degrees of felonies. For example, felonies can come in first-degree, second-degree, or third degree in virtually any state. 

However, Texas has a special variety of felony: the state jail felony. A crime becomes a state jail felony if lawmakers do not designate it as a one of the aforementioned classes of felony or set a specific sentence for the crime. 

What are the consequences of a state jail felony?

A Texas state jail felony is on a lesser scale than other felonies. For example, if a court convicted person of a state jail felony they will spend between 180 days to two years in state jail. The fines associated with a Texas state jail felony are no higher than $10,000. 

To compare, if the Texas court system finds an individual guilty of a third degree felony, it is punishable by between 2 to 10 years in prison. So a state jail felony is less severe. However, the fines of a third degree felony are also capped at $10,000. 

What is an example of a state jail felony?

One of the more common state jail felonies is theft. In the event that the accused stole a firearm, livestock worth up to $30,000 or non-livestock property worth between $2,500 and $30,000, these are all state jail felonies. 

In the event that the defendant has done the above while using or exhibiting a deadly weapon during the crime, then the courts must charge the defendant with a third degree felony, not a state jail felony.