Texas Criminal Offense Levels

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//Texas Criminal Offense Levels
Texas Criminal Offense Levels

Criminal Offense Levels

Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code sets forth the classification  and punishment ranges of Texas criminal offense levels. First, offenses are designated as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanors are then broken down into three classes: Class A, Class B and Class C offenses. Felonies are divided into five categories: Capitol, First Degree, Second Degree, Third Degree and State Jail felonies.

See below for a description of each level of criminal offense and its punishment range. Additionally, each category includes examples of common charges for each level of offense. However, it is important to note that many factors can change the level of an offense.

For example, offense levels for drug charges are based on the quantity or weight of drugs found in possession. Theft charges are classified based on the value of the items stolen. As a result, theft is considered to be a “value ladder” crime. However, theft charges can also be enhanced if a person has prior theft convictions.  Some of the offenses listed in the categories below may fall into more than one category if they are a “value ladder” crime or otherwise enhanceable.

Misdemeanors are classified into three categories according to the relative seriousness of the offense:

Class A Misdemeanors are the most serious type of misdemeanor offense in Texas. Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to 365 days confinement in the county jail and a fine not to exceed $4,000. Common Class A Misdemeanor offenses include:

  1. Assault
  2. Burglary of Vehicle
  3. Deadly Conduct
  4. DWI > 0.15
  5. Evading Arrest
  1. Fail ID Fugitive
  2. Resisting Arrest
  3. Possession of Controlled Substance
  4. Unlawful Carrying Weapon
  5. Violation of Protective Order
Class B Misdemeanors are less serious offenses than Class A Misdemeanors. As a result, the punishment range for Class B Misdemeanors is lower. Class B misdemeanors are punishable by up to 180 days confinement in the county jail and a fine not to exceed $2,000. Common Class B Misdemeanor offenses include:

  1. Possession of Marijuana
  2. Driving While Intoxicated
  3. Criminal Trespass
  1. False Report to Peace Officer
  2. Harassment
  3. Indecent Exposure
Class C Misdemeanors are the least serious type of misdemeanor offense under Texas law. Class C misdemeanors are punishable by a fine not to exceed $500. Common Class C Misdemeanor offenses:

  1. Assault
  2. Disorderly Conduct
  3. Theft < $100
  1. Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
  2. Public Intoxication
  3. Traffic Tickets
Class A Misdemeanors are the most serious type of misdemeanor offense in Texas. Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to 365 days confinement in the county jail and a fine not to exceed $4,000. Common Class A Misdemeanor offenses include:

  1. Assault
  2. Burglary of Vehicle
  3. Deadly Conduct
  4. DWI > 0.15
  5. Evading Arrest
  6. Fail ID Fugitive
  7. Resisting Arrest
  8. Possession of Controlled Substance
  9. Unlawful Carrying Weapon
  10. Violation of Protective Order
Class B Misdemeanors are less serious offenses than Class A Misdemeanors. As a result, the punishment range for Class B Misdemeanors is lower. Class B misdemeanors are punishable by up to 180 days confinement in the county jail and a fine not to exceed $2,000. Common Class B Misdemeanor offenses include:

  1. Driving While Intoxicated
  2. False Report to Peace Officer
  3. Harassment
  4. Criminal Trespass
  5. Indecent Exposure
  6. Possession of Marijuana

Class C Misdemeanors are the least serious type of misdemeanor offense under Texas law. Class C misdemeanors are punishable by a fine not to exceed $500. Common Class C Misdemeanor offenses:

  1. Assault
  2. Disorderly Conduct
  3. Theft < $100
  4. Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
  5. Public Intoxication
  6. Traffic Tickets

Felonies are classified into five categories according to the relative seriousness of the offense:

A State Jail Felony is the lowest level of felony offenses in Texas. If convicted, a State Jail Felony is punishable by a term of no less than 180 days and no more than 2 years in a State Jail facility and a fine not to exceed $10,000. A list of common State Jail Felony offenses includes:

  1. Burglary of Vehicle 3rd Offense
  2. Credit/Debit Card Abuse
  3. DWI with Child Passenger
  4. Evading Arrest 2nd Offense
  1. Unauthorized Use of Motor Vehicle
  2. Prostitution 4th Offense
  3. Unlawful Restraint of Child
  4. Forgery

Third Degree Felony convictions are punishable by a prison term between 2 and 10 years and a fine not to exceed $10,000. Common Third Degree Felony offenses include:

  1. Assault
  2. Evading Arrest in Vechile
  3. DWI 3rd or more
  4. Kidnapping
  1. Intoxication Assault
  2. Possession of Child Pornography
  3. Indecency with a Child
  4. Possession of Firearm by a Felon

Second Degree Felony convictions are punishable by a prison term between 2 and 20 years and a fine not to exceed $10,000. A list of common Second Degree Felony offenses include:

  1. Aggravated Assault
  2. Assault – Strangulation
  3. Burglary of Habitation
  4. Promoting Prostitution
  1. Manslaughter
  2. Robbery
  3. Trafficking of Persons
  4. Online Solicitation of Minor

Short of a Capital Felony, First Degree Felonies are the most serious offenses in Texas. A first degree felony is punishable by a prison term between 5 and 99 years and a fine not to exceed $10,000. A list of common First Degree Felony offenses includes:

  1. Aggravated Assault
  2. Aggravated Robbery
  3. Aggravated Sexual Assault
  4. Continuous Sexual Abuse
  1. Intoxication Manslaughter
  2. Murder
  3. Sexual Assault
  4. Tafficking of Persons

In Texas, a capital felony is the most serious type of criminal offense. The State may seek the death penalty for a capital felony. A capital felony carries a punishment of death, life in prison without the possibility of parole, or life in prison with the possibility of parole if the offense was committed prior to the person’s 18th birthday. A person charged with a capitol felony is not eligible for probation. Capitol felony offenses include:

  1. Murder of a Public Safety Officer
  2. Murder during the commission of certain other felonies

A State Jail Felony is the lowest level of felony offenses in Texas. If convicted, a State Jail Felony is punishable by a term of no less than 180 days and no more than 2 years in a State Jail facility and a fine not to exceed $10,000. A list of common State Jail Felony offenses includes:

  1. Burglary of Vehicle 3rd Offense
  2. Credit/Debit Card Abuse
  3. DWI with Child Passenger
  4. Evading Arrest 2nd Offense
  5. Unauthorized Use of Motor Vehicle
  6. Prostitution 4th Offense
  7. Unlawful Restraint of Child
  8. Forgery

Third degree felony convictions are punishable by a prison term between 2 and 10 years and a fine not to exceed $10,000. Common third degree felony offenses include:

  1. Assault
  2. Evading Arrest in Vechile
  3. DWI 3rd or more
  4. Kidnapping
  5. Intoxication Assault
  6. Possession of Child Pornography
  7. Indecency with a Child
  8. Possession of Firearm by a Felon

Second degree felony convictions are punishable by a prison term between 2 and 20 years and a fine not to exceed $10,000. A list of common second degree felony offenses include:

  1. Aggravated Assault
  2. Assault – Strangulation
  3. Burglary of Habitation
  4. Promoting Prostitution
  5. Manslaughter
  6. Robbery
  7. Trafficking of Persons
  8. Online Solicitation of Minor

Short of a capital offense, first degree felonies are the most serious offenses in Texas. A first degree felony is punishable by a prison term between 5 and 99 years and a fine not to exceed $10,000. A list of common first degree felony offenses includes:

  1. Aggravated Assault
  2. Aggravated Robbery
  3. Aggravated Sexual Assault
  4. Continuous Sexual Abuse
  5. Intoxication Manslaughter
  6. Murder
  7. Sexual Assault
  8. Tafficking of Persons

In Texas, a capital felony is the most serious type of criminal offense. The State may seek the death penalty for a capital felony. A capital felony carries a punishment of death, life in prison without the possibility of parole, or life in prison with the possibility of parole if the offense was committed prior to the person’s 18th birthday. A person charged with a capitol felony is not eligible for probation. Capitol felony offenses include:

  1. Murder of a Public Safety Officer
  2. Murder during the commission of certain other felonies

Value Ladder Crimes:

Value ladder crimes are typically theft-related offenses. The value of the money or property stolen determines the offense level. A list of common value ladder criminal offenses includes:

  1. Theft
  2. Theft of Services
  3. Insurance Fraud
  4. Medicaid Fraud
  1. Organized Retail Theft
  2. Criminal Mischief
  3. Graffiti
  4. False Statement to Obtain Credit
Offense LevelBefore Sept. 1, 2015After Sept. 1, 2015
Class C Misdemeanor<$50<$100
Class B Misdemeanor$50-$500$100-$750
Class A Misdemeanor$500-$1,500$750-$2,500
State Jail Felony$1,500-$20,000$2,500-$30,000
3rd Degree Felony$20,000-$100,000$30,000-$150,000
2nd Degree Felony$100,000-$200,000$150,000-$300,000
1st Degree Felony>$200,000>$300,000

Value ladder crimes are typically theft-related offenses. The value of the money or property stolen determines the offense level. A list of common value ladder criminal offenses includes:

  1. Theft
  2. Theft of Services
  3. Insurance Fraud
  4. Medicaid Fraud
  5. Organized Retail Theft
  6. Criminal Mischief
  7. Graffiti
  8. False Statement to Obtain Credit
LvlBef 9/1/15Aft 9/1/15
MC<$50<$100
MB$50-$500$100-$750
MA$500-$1.5k$750-$2.5k
SJF$1.5k-$20k$2.5k-$30k
F3$20k-$100k$30k-$150k
F2$100k-$200k$150k-$300k
F1>$200k>$300k

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