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Apr 26

Criminal Defense | Felonies

Texas law categorizes crimes as misdemeanors or felonies, then breaks each of those categories up into various levels of charges. Felonies alone are divided into six different levels.

In this post, we will detail the different possible felony charges that you can find yourself up against in Texas, as well as the associated penalties.

State Jail Felony


  • State jail sentence of 180 days to 2 years
  • A fine of up to $10,000

Examples include:

  • Theft of property valued between $1,500 and $20,000
  • Theft of a firearm
  • Abuse of debit or credit cards
  • Possession of less than one gram of a Schedule 1 drug

A state jail felony is the default charge for crimes identified as felonies but without specific designations.

If an individual is charged with a state jail felony, it can be punished as a third degree felony if a previous felony conviction exists or if a deadly weapon was used during the commission of the crime.

Third Degree Felony


  • Prison sentence of 2 to 10 years
  • A fine of up to $10,000

Examples include:

  • Theft of property valued between $20,000 and $100,000
  • Drive-by shooting with no injuries
  • Possession of 5 to 50 pounds of marijuana
  • Possession of at least 1 and up to 4 grams of a Schedule 1 drug

Second Degree Felony


  • Prison sentence of 2 to 20 years
  • A fine of up to $10,000

Examples include:

  • Theft of property valued between $100,000 and $200,000
  • Aggravated assault
  • Reckless injury to a child
  • Serious injury to a family member
  • Possession of at least 4 and up to 200 grams of a Schedule 1 drug

First Degree Felony


  • Prison sentence of 5 to 99 years or a life sentence
  • A fine of up to $10,000

Examples include:

  • Theft of property valued at $200,000 or more
  • Aggravated sexual assault
  • Sexual assault against a child
  • Possession of over 2,000 pounds of marijuana
  • Possession of at least 200 and up to 400 grams of a Schedule 1 drug

Capital Felony


  • Prison sentence of life without parole or execution


  • Capital murder

All capital felony cases automatically appeal to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Juveniles convicted of capital felonies may serve life sentences if the prosecutor does not seek the death penalty.

Other Important Things to Know about Felonies in Texas

Repeat Offenses

Normally a conviction on a repeat felony will result in penalties for the next highest category. For example, a previous conviction for a second degree felony will result in penalties for a first degree felony. A judge can enforce a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison for a repeat first degree felony.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations begins when the crime is committed and extends to the length of time set by the courts. What is that length? It varies depending on the offense, but normally felony crimes have longer statutes of limitations than misdemeanor offenses. There is no statute of limitations for a murder charge.

Legal Assistance for Felony Charges in Texas

Legal Assistance for Felony Charges in Texas

A felony conviction can result in long lasting consequences, other than paying a fine or being incarcerated. If convicted, you can lose voting rights and the right to own firearms. You may have difficulty finding work or obtaining professional licenses. A felony conviction can also have a negative impact on your credit and your ability to secure loans.

Since the consequences are serious, you need a skilled Texas criminal defense attorney to help you fight your charges. Call today for your free, no-obligation case review. We will work hard to protect your rights and your reputation.


About the Author:

Brandon Fulgham has an in-depth understanding of both Texas law and Texans themselves. Before practicing law here, he received his undergraduate degree from TCU, and his law degree from South Texas College of Law in Houston. After graduation, he worked in District Attorneys’ offices as a prosecutor, building cases designed to put people behind bars. Now, he uses that knowledge to protect the rights of people in and around Fort Worth, making sure they receive the strongest possible defense when they find themselves on the wrong side of the law. He has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, Fort Worth Magazine, and others.

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