In the State of Texas, felonies are crimes that are punishable by terms served in either the Texas Department of Corrections (TDC), state jail facilities, or county jail if punished as a misdemeanor. These felonies are classified as felonies: first, second- or third-degree felonies, or state jail felonies. The laws are strict, and you want to be sure these charges are managed correctly the first time.
Texas State Jail Felonies
Out of all the types of felonies a defendant can be convicted of in the state of Texas, state jail felonies are the least severe. State jail convictions are punishable by six months (180 days) to two years in a State Jail Facility and can face a fine all the way up to $10,000. In Texas, the law dictates that a judge should punish a defendant who is convicted of this type of felony if they are unable to designate the particular crime to a specific kind of felony, or set a specific sentence.
In some circumstances, a state jail felony may be upgraded into a different felony, when evaluation deems that it is a more severe offense. State jail felonies can become second degree and sometimes third degree felonies based on the aggravating factors or prior convictions of the defendant.
First Degree Felonies
A first-degree felony can result in life in prison or five to 99 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000. Sexual assault against a child is one such felony in the state. Some first-degree felonies also have “enhanced” minimum punishment ranges. Examples include large amounts of controlled substances or continuous sexual abuse of a child.
Second Degree Felonies
Second-degree felonies are punishable by two to 20 years in TDC and fines up to $10,000.
Third Degree Felonies
Third-degree felonies are punishable by two to 10 years in TDC and fines of up to $10,000. A judge must punish a defendant that is convicted of a state jail felony to a third-degree term if they used a deadly weapon during the crime or they have been previously convicted of one of the felonies in the three strikes rule. A judge must also give probation in the case of a controlled substance when the defendant has no criminal history.
Statutes of Limitations
The statutes of limitations are time limits the state has to begin criminal prosecution of the defendant. If the State of Texas fails to bring charges within the statute of limitations, the case is barred from prosecution and the charge must be dismissed.
Whether these rules apply to a crime (will have a statute of limitation attached to it) or not will depend on the crime at hand. For example, most felonies have either a three or five year statute of limitations, while murder has no statute of limitations. Ultimately, a felony conviction can have major consequences on your life.
A felony conviction can result in the loss of someone’s right to keep a job or professional license, the inability to find a nice place to live, to find work, vote, enter foreign countries, get a loan, and much more.
If you or a loved one are facing a serious criminal felony charge, then you want to call our office today. An experienced felony charges defense attorney can help; this is not the time to leave any legal results to chance.
Schedule a Consultation with James Gill, Austin Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one are facing a felony charge in the State of Texas, it’s important to call and immediately schedule a legal consultation with an experienced Austin Criminal Lawyer. James Gill has years of experience defending those facing misdemeanors and felonies, so schedule a legal consultation with him today by calling his law office at 512-448-4560. The Law Offices of James Gill, PLLC serves all of Austin, Westlake, Kyle, Buda, San Marcos, and the surrounding TX communities.