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.