What Are the Potential Penalties for a Felony Conviction in Texas?

By Brock Benjamin
Founding Attorney

A felony is a category of crimes. Facing a felony charge is a serious matter. In fact, a felony is the most serious type of criminal offense in Texas. A felony crime is classified as such if the penalty carried by the conviction of the crime can be greater than one year in jail. This separates felonies from misdemeanors or infractions, which are other crime categories carrying lesser sentences than felonies. Should a person be convicted of a felony crime in Texas, incarceration time will be served in a state jail or state prison. In addition to incarceration, those convicted of felonies face serious fines as well as substantial collateral consequences of being recognized as a felon. Additionally, all criminal history is with someone for life. I refer to it as the “gift that keeps on giving”. This is because it can be used to enhance a sentence, change a misdemeanor to a felony or even simply influence a prosecutor’s charging decision.

Potential Penalties for a Felony Conviction in Texas

The state of Texas has five different types of felonies. Some felonies are considered more serious than others and they are categorized according to the seriousness of their natures. Capital felonies are the most serious types of felonies and are called so because those facing potential conviction of a capital felony are facing life imprisonment or even the death penalty.

Just below the capital felonies category is the first-degree felonies category. These felonies carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years incarceration. Generally, a conviction for a first-degree felony means you potentially face 5 to 99 years or life imprisonment. Additionally, you can face an assessment of up to $10,000 in fines. First degree felonies include criminal offenses such as aggravated robbery, attempted murder, or arson resulting in death. A “sub” category of these are specific statutes that we generally call ‘super’ firsts. These are some drug offenses that carry enhanced sentences with minimums of 10 years or even 15 years. The proper term is “Enhanced 1st degree felony”, but Super first is more accurate. There are other enhanced sentences that include 25 to life on continuous sexual assault. 

The next level includes second-degree felonies. Second-degree felonies include offenses such as manslaughter, aggravated assault, and robbery. Those convicted of a second-degree felony potentially face from 2 to 20 years incarceration. Additionally, a person convicted of a second-degree felony may be fined upwards of $10,000.

Third-degree felonies carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years incarceration. Stalking and deadly conduct with a firearm are two examples of third-degree felonies. If convicted, a person stands to spend 2 to 10 years imprisoned as well as incurring up to $10,000 in fines.

The least serious, but still rather serious, felony-level includes state jail felonies. Check forgery and theft of between $2,500 and $30,000 are both state jail felonies. Those convicted of state jail felonies face 180 days to 2 years imprisonment as well as up to $10,000 in fines.

On top of incarceration and fines, those convicted of felonies face other repercussions. For instance, felons lose the right to vote as well as the right to carry firearms or own weapons. Furthermore, a felony conviction may result in a person being unable to engage in certain professionals. Additionally, those convicted of a felony may be stripped of, or denied access to, certain professional certifications.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are facing a felony charge, time is of the essence. The Benjamin Law Firm is here to mount a rigorous defense against all charges. We are here to fight for you at every turn. Contact us today.

About the Author
Brock Benjamin is board-certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  His practice is primarily state and federal criminal law and appeals.Brock 

Posted in: Felonies