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Handcuffed Man

Within the confines of Texas’ notoriously complicated judicial system, distinguishing between the various crime levels can seem daunting to those not working within the legal sector. Furthermore, understanding the penalties for breaking the law is equally as confusing, as some convicted crimes can lead to fines while others may result in more serious consequences like jail time.

This confusion can be especially daunting if you find yourself on the wrong side of the law. Will you have to go to jail, just pay expensive fines – or both? The answer depends on the offense, which can fall under three classifications in Texas: infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. However, even within each category, there are levels of severity that ultimately determine the legal outcome.

In today’s blog, we will focus on the two upper-level offenses in Texas, which are misdemeanors and felonies. We will explain levels and degrees within each category, including what kind of punishment can be expected if convicted. Although there is a lot of information to digest, we will summarize what you need to know in the simplest terms possible. Ready to clear up those gray areas around Texas misdemeanors vs felonies? Let’s get started.

Key Takeaways

  • Misdemeanors in Texas can mean jail time, fines, and court-ordered classes or treatment. Class A is the most serious, with up to a year in jail. Class B can get you 180 days, and Class C has no jail but still includes fines.
  • Felony crimes are more severe than misdemeanors, and Texas classifies them into five categories based on the seriousness of the offense: capital felonies, first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree felonies, followed by state jail felonies.
  • Facing any criminal charge requires a solid legal defense. GHC Law Firm offers free consultations to help plan your case, whether for a minor misdemeanor or a serious felony.

Misdemeanor Charges in Texas

Although misdemeanors in Texas are not punished as severely as felonies, they should never be taken lightly. At GHC Law, we understand the nuances of these offenses and their life-impacting potential, so we will break them down by classification next, including associated punishments if convicted.

Class A Misdemeanors

Class A misdemeanors are serious criminal offenses. They can land someone in jail for up to a year and come with a fine of up to $4,000. These offenses typically involve violence of some kind, the possession of a certain amount of drugs, theft of property (worth between $750 and $2,500), a second DWI (driving while intoxicated) offense – and the list goes on. Unfortunately, they also involve some tough punishments.

We know that facing such charges is scary. The thought of going to jail or having a criminal record is not something to take lightly. If you’re charged with any crime, be it theft of property or possession of marijuana, it’s important to act fast and get help from a lawyer who knows how the law works.

Class B Misdemeanors

We often come across Class B misdemeanors in our line of work. Crimes like property theft, prostitution, or even driving while intoxicated fall under this category. If you’re facing such charges, there’s a lot at stake.

You could spend up to 180 days in jail and may have to pay fines reaching $2,000.

Take these charges seriously because they can disrupt your life significantly. Our job is to help you navigate these rough waters. Whether it’s negotiating with prosecutors or representing you in front of a jury, we’re here for you every step of the way.

We understand how stressful dealing with Class B misdemeanors can be and are prepared to defend your rights vigorously.

Class C Misdemeanors

In Texas, we take Class C misdemeanors seriously even though they are the least severe charges. This category includes offenses such as traffic violations and disorderly conduct. If you’re facing a Class C misdemeanor, expect to pay fines – but no more than $500.

We know dealing with legal issues can be stressful. Luckily, for Class C misdemeanors, there’s no risk of jail time. However, it’s crucial to handle them properly to keep your record clean and avoid any extra hassle down the line.

Punishments for Misdemeanor Offenses

Handcuffed Prisoner

When it comes to facing misdemeanor offenses in Texas, you’re not just looking at a slap on the wrist. The consequences can range from financial hits to personal freedom restrictions, each tailored to fit the severity of the crime committed.


We see fines as one of the common penalties for misdemeanor crimes here in Texas. For Class A misdemeanors, the most serious, folks can expect up to a $4,000 fine. From there, the fines decrease with the severity of the misdemeanors; however, Class B misdemeanor fines can still cost as much as $2,000, followed by up to $500 for Class C misdemeanors.

Paying these fines is serious business, and missing payments isn’t an option if you want to avoid further trouble. Dealing with legal financial obligations can be highly stressful, so we always encourage our clients to consider the full impact of fines. After all, whether it’s petty theft or resisting arrest, punishments can carry a financial weight that has real consequences on daily life.

Court-Ordered Classes or Treatment

Sometimes, after someone is convicted of a misdemeanor, they must attend special classes or get treatment. This can happen if they’re found guilty of crimes like hitting someone, stealing stuff, selling their body for money, or driving drunk.

The kind of misdemeanor decides what classes or help they need.

For example, if it’s a Class A misdemeanor—those are the big ones—they might have to take anger management as part of their punishment. Even with Class B misdemeanors that aren’t as bad, judges can still make them go to classes for drugs and alcohol or other treatments.

Classes and treatments are meant to educate offenders on avoiding more trouble in the future and ensuring the consequences of breaking the law are clear and understood.


Probation offers a second chance to those who’ve made minor mistakes. It’s an alternative to sitting behind bars and can include community service or classes. We often see offenders working with a probation officer, which includes strict rules set by the court. In these situations, it’s critical to abide by the rules, as breaking any of them can land you in jail.

The length of probation varies by the level of misdemeanor offense. A Class A offense might lead to a year of being watched closely, while Class B could mean supervision for half that time. The goal is always the same: helping folks learn from their actions and avoiding incarceration.

Jail Time Not Exceeding One Year

We know facing a criminal charge can be scary, as jail time is possible. However, jail stays for Texas misdemeanors do not exceed a year – the maximum sentence for Class A offenses.

Accordingly, Class B misdemeanors can result in a maximum of 180 days in jail, and there’s no jail time for Class C misdemeanors.

Our job as defense attorneys includes minimizing your time away from home and loved ones. We work hard to defend you against hefty jail sentences for misdemeanors. Our strategy may involve negotiating lesser charges or pushing for alternatives like probation or community service instead of jail time.

Trust us to fight for the best outcome in your case.

Felony Charges in Texas

Felony charges are serious business in Texas. We’re talking about major offenses that can forever change your life if convicted.

Types of Felonies

Felony crimes in Texas vary, although all are serious and can lead to tough punishments.

  • Capital Felonies: These are the crimes taken most seriously and often involve murder. If someone is convicted, they could spend their life in prison without a chance for parole or even face the death penalty.
  • First-Degree Felonies: These include crimes like aggravated assault or certain drug offenses. The consequences might be from 5 years to 99 years or life in prison.
  • Second-Degree Felonies: Manslaughter and robbery can be second-degree, and jail time can range from 2 to 20 years.
  • Third-Degree Felonies: These include offenses like repeat DWI and indecent exposure with a prior conviction and carry sentences of 2 to 10 years.
  • State Jail Felonies: Still serious, yet lesser felonies like certain thefts and drug charges will get you 180 days to two years in a state jail.

Punishments for Felony Offenses

We know the law and understand that facing a felony charge can be scary. Felonies in Texas come with severe, life-changing punishments.

  • Capital felonies are the most severe. Judges may sentence someone to life without parole or decide on the death penalty.
  • First-degree felonies carry heavy consequences, too. If found guilty, a person could face 5 to 99 years in prison and might have to pay up to $10,000 in fines.
  • Second-degree felonies are not taken lightly either. These can result in 2 to 20 years behind bars, along with fines reaching $10,000.
  • For third-degree felonies, the court could give a sentence of 2 to 10 years of prison time. They also might order fines up to $10,000.
  • State jail felonies might seem lighter but still pack a punch. They can lead to spending 180 days to 2 years in state jail and paying as much as $10,000.

GHC Law Firm Legal Representation

Lawyer in the Office

At GHC Law Firm, we understand the complexity of Texas criminal law and are prepared to mount a vigorous defense whether you’re facing misdemeanor or felony charges. Our team is just a phone call away to provide the critical legal support you need to navigate your case confidently.

Defense for Misdemeanor or Felony Charges

Our team of criminal defense lawyers is ready to fight for you if you’re facing misdemeanor or felony charges. We know the criminal justice system inside out and will work tirelessly to build a strong defense.

Whether negotiating plea bargains, challenging breathalyzers, or pushing back against bias or prejudice, we’ll be right by your side, fighting for justice every step of the way.

If you’re worried about what comes next, call GHC Law Firm for a free consultation so we can discuss your case. We’ll explain every option available and help plan the best course of action.

With GHC Law on your side, you’ll have experienced attorneys fighting for the best possible outcome in your criminal case.

Contact Information for Legal Assistance

If you’re facing criminal charges, don’t wait to get help. GHC Law Firm is here for you. Our legal team is highly experienced in defending against misdemeanor and felony accusations in Texas.

We’re available Monday through Friday during office hours, so reach out today or stop by our offices for more details on how we can fight for your rights. Everyone deserves the right to legal representation, whether for a minor infraction or something more serious. Don’t wait to get the help you need to protect your future.


We’ve talked about the differences between misdemeanors and felonies in Texas. Remember, small crimes like stealing cheap stuff or causing a fuss can land you a misdemeanor. However, seriously harming others is a felony with life-changing consequences.

Are you clear on the three types of misdemeanors? They go from Class A to C, with Class A being the toughest. Felonies, no matter the degree, are more severe, as are the punishments if convicted.

When facing Texas misdemeanor or felony charges, contact GHC Law right away.

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1. What's the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony in Texas?

In Texas, a misdemeanor is a less serious crime than a felony. A misdemeanor can lead to jail time. However, jail time won’t be as long as for a felony, which can result in years of imprisonment.

2. Can juveniles be charged with misdemeanors or felonies in Texas?

Yes, juveniles can be charged with either misdemeanors or felonies, but they often go to juvenile court instead of adult court.

3. What does deferred adjudication mean for someone accused of a crime?

Deferred adjudication means the person accused doesn’t get an immediate guilty verdict. Instead, they have probation first and, if followed well, might avoid harsher penalties like jail time.

4. Is driving under the influence considered a misdemeanor or felony in Texas?

Driving under the influence is usually treated as a misdemeanor unless it causes injury or death. At that point, it becomes more serious and can be charged as a felony.

5. Can you remove criminal records in Texas by expunging them?

Some crimes can be removed from your records through expungement if certain conditions are fulfilled, like completing community supervision without further incidents.

6. Are there minimum required jail sentences for felonies in Texas?

Yes, most felonies come with mandatory minimum sentences that you must serve before becoming eligible for release on parole or house arrest.

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