Criminal Law Penalties

Learning Objectives

By the end of this section, you’ll be able to

  • Distinguish the difference between misdemeanors and felonies
  • Understand the gradation of criminal penalties in Texas

There are two types of crime: misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanors are considered minor crimes, and felonies are defined as major crimes.[1]

Offense Punishment Court
Capital Murder (Capital Felony)– Examples: Murder of a law enforcement official, prison guard, or firefighter on duty; commits murder with other types of felonies; murder for hire; mass murder; murder of someone under the age of 10  Life or Death Penalty District Court
 First degree felony– Examples: Murder; theft of property worth over $200,000 5-99 years in prison, maximum fine of $10,000 District Court
 Second degree felony– Examples: Manslaughter; theft of property worth between $100,000-200,000 2-20 years in prison, maximum fine of $10,000  District Court
 Third degree felony– Examples: Impersonating someone online; theft of property worth $20,000-100,000 2-10  years in prison, maximum fine of $10,000 District Court
 State jail felony– Examples: Possession of 4 ounces to 1lb of marijuana; theft of property worth $15,000-20,000  180 days-2 years on prison, maximum fine of $10,000  District Court
 Class A Misdemeanor– Examples: Resisting arrests; theft of property worth $500-1,500  1 year in prison, maximum fine of $4,000 County Court
Class B Misdemeanor– Examples: Terroristic threat; theft of property worth $20-500 180 days in prison, maximum fine of $2,000 County Court
Class C Misdemeanor– Examples: Sexting with someone 17 or younger; theft of property worth less than $20 Maximum fine $500 Justice of the Peace or Municipal Courts
  1. Texas Penal Code http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/?link=PE