Houston Crime & Punishment Attorney

In Texas, crimes are categorized as either misdemeanors or felonies. Felony and misdemeanor drug offenses are classified in the Texas Health and Safety Code based on factors including:

  1. The type and amount of drug; &
  2. Whether the defendant manufactured, delivered, or possessed the drug.

Texas Penalty Chart

Increased punishments are provided for certain drug offenses occurring in drug free zones.

MISDEMEANORS – § 12.03.

Misdemeanors are categorized by the relative seriousness of the offense into three categories:

Class A misdemeanors – § 12.21:

An individual adjudged guilty of a Class A misdemeanor shall be punished by:

  1. a fine not to exceed $4,000;
  2. confinement in jail for a term not to exceed one year; or
  3. both such fine and confinement.

Some common examples of class A misdemeanors include:

  • Assault with bodily injury
  • Burglary of a vehicle
  • DWI (2nd offense)
  • Possession of two to four ounces of marijuana
  • Promoting gambling
  • Resisting arrest
  • Unlawfully carrying a weapon

Class B misdemeanors – § 12.22:

An individual adjudged guilty of a Class B misdemeanor shall be punished by:

  1. a fine not to exceed $2,000;
  2. confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days; or
  3. both such fine and confinement.

Some common examples of class B misdemeanors include Criminal Trespass

  • DWI
  • False report to police officer
  • Possession of 2 ounces or less of marijuana
  • Fail to ID Terroristic threat

Class C misdemeanors – § 12.23:

An individual adjudged guilty of a Class C misdemeanor shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $500.

(1) An offense designated a misdemeanor in this code without specification as to punishment or category is a Class C misdemeanor.

(2) Conviction of a Class C misdemeanor does not impose any legal disability or disadvantage.

Some common examples of class C misdemeanors include:

  • Assault by threat
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Issuance of bad check
  • Minor in possession of alcohol
  • Possession of alcoholic beverage in motor vehicle
  • Public intoxication
  • Use of Laser pointers

Felonies – § 12.04.

Felonies are categorized by the relative seriousness of the offense into five categories:

Capital felonies – § 12.31:

(a) An individual adjudged guilty of a capital felony in a case in which the state seeks the death penalty shall be punished by imprisonment in the institutional division for life without parole or by death. An individual adjudged guilty of a capital felony in a case in which the state does not seek the death penalty shall be punished by imprisonment in the institutional division for life without parole.

(b) In a capital felony trial in which the state seeks the death penalty, prospective jurors shall be informed that a sentence of life imprisonment without parole or death is mandatory on conviction of a capital felony. In a capital felony trial in which the state does not seek the death penalty, prospective jurors shall be informed that the state is not seeking the death penalty and that a sentence of life imprisonment without parole is mandatory on conviction of the capital felony.

Felonies of the first degree – § 12.32:

(a) An individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the first degree shall be punished by imprisonment in the institutional division for life or for any term of not more than 99 years or less than 5 years.

(b) In addition to imprisonment, an individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the first degree may be punished by a fine not to exceed $10,000.

Examples:

  • Aggravated assault of public servant
  • Aggravated kidnapping
  • Aggravated robbery
  • Aggravated sexual assault
  • Arson of habitation
  • Burglary of a habitation with intent to commit or commission of a felony
  • Murder

Capital felonies – § 12.31:

(a) An individual adjudged guilty of a capital felony in a case in which the state seeks the death penalty shall be punished by imprisonment in the institutional division for life without parole or by death. An individual adjudged guilty of a capital felony in a case in which the state does not seek the death penalty shall be punished by imprisonment in the institutional division for life without parole.

(b) In a capital felony trial in which the state seeks the death penalty, prospective jurors shall be informed that a sentence of life imprisonment without parole or death is mandatory on conviction of a capital felony. In a capital felony trial in which the state does not seek the death penalty, prospective jurors shall be informed that the state is not seeking the death penalty and that a sentence of life imprisonment without parole is mandatory on conviction of the capital felony.

Felonies of the second degree – § 12.33:

(a) An individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the second degree shall be punished by imprisonment in the institutional division for any term of not more than 20 years or less than 2 years.

(b) In addition to imprisonment, an individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the second degree may be punished by a fine not to exceed $10,000.

Examples:

  • Aggravated assault
  • Arson
  • Bribery
  • Intoxication manslaughter
  • Manslaughter
  • Robbery
  • Sexual assault

Felonies of the third degree – § 12.34:

(a) An individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the third degree shall be punished by imprisonment in the institutional division for any term of not more than 10 years or less than 2 years.

(b) In addition to imprisonment, an individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the second degree may be punished by a fine not to exceed $10,000.

Examples:

  • DWI 3RD
  • Deadly Conduct
  • Forgery
  • Possession of a Controlled substance 1-4 grams
  • Felon in Possession of a Firearm

State Jail Felony – § 12.35:

(a) An individual adjudged guilty of a state jail shall be punished by imprisonment in state jail for any term of not more than 2 years or less than 180 days.

(b) In addition to imprisonment, an individual adjudged guilty of a state jail felony may be punished by a fine not to exceed $10,000.

Possession of a Controlled Substance Less than 1 gram

  • Evading Arrest Motor Vehicle
  • Theft $1500 – $20,000
  • Credit Card Abuse
  • Burglary of a Building