Charges for crimes in Texas can vary widely ranging from misdemeanors to capital punishment. The guidelines used to determine sentencing in Texas are based on categories; Class C misdemeanor, Class B misdemeanor, Class A misdemeanor, Third degree felony, Second degree felony, First degree felony and Capital felony.
Class C misdemeanors are the lowest level offenses. This category includes traffic citations, public intoxication and gambling. Punishments include a fine of up to $500 and no jail time.
Class B misdemeanors are the next level offenses. This category includes indecent exposure, prostitution and a first time DWI charge. Punishments include a fine of up $2000, up to 180 days in a county jail and two years of community supervision. First-time offenders can receive “deferred adjudication,” or other beneficial pretrial intervention programs.
Class A misdemeanors are the most serious out of the misdemeanors. This class includes assault with bodily injury, second offense DWI and animal cruelty. Punishments for these misdemeanors includes a fine of up to $4000, up to a year in county jail and two years of community supervision.
State jail felonies are felony offenses with a minimized exposure to prison time. These include common drug possession offenses and other varied crimes. Punishments include a find of up to $10,000 and 6 months to 2 years in a State jail facility.
Third degree felonies are more serious than the misdemeanors. These include a third offense DWI, stalking and tampering with evidence. Punishments include a fine of up to $10,000 and 2 to 10 years in prison.
Second degree felonies include human trafficking, manslaughter, arson, sexual assault and aggravated assault. Punishments include a fine of up to $10,000 and 2 to 20 years in prison.
First degree felonies are the most heinous of the felonies. These include aggravated sexual assault of a child, attempted capital murder and aggravated kidnapping. Punishments include a fine of up to $10,000 and 5 to 99 years in prison.
Capital felonies are considered the worst offenses. These include espionage, treason, premeditated murder and genocide. Punishments for these are life imprisonment or death.
As with all laws, there are variations, exemptions, enhancements and other nuances that can change terms of punishments or categorizations. It is always best to consult with an attorney to understand what law applies.
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