What Is The Punishment Range For Felony Offenses
What is the punishment range for felony convictions? The answer really depends on what the person is convicted of. There are five different classes of felonies in the state of Texas, each with their own rules.
Capital felonies can come with a life sentence or death sentence. The judge or jury could sentence you to 99 years or life in prison. The list of capital felonies includes killing a police officer and murdering someone after invading their home with the intent to rob them.
If Texas statutes don’t specify the crime as a first, second- or third-degree felony, it counts as a state felony. A state felony results in being sent to a state prison. There is no parole. However, you can earn good behavior credits that shorten the sentence by up to a fifth.
Most state felonies result in a sentence of six months to two years in prison. Aggravating factors can turn a state felony into a third-degree felony and add time to the sentence. For example, forging checks is a state felony. You’d spend 6 to 18 months in prison in most cases. But if the victim was elderly, it is now a third-degree felony. Prior convictions can turn a state felony into a third-degree felony, too. Child porn or exposing yourself to a child becomes a third-degree felony if the person had prior convictions. If the person has two separate, prior convictions, then the offense becomes a second-degree felony. Consider this a version of the three strikes law.
On the other hand, state felonies in Texas include possession of a controlled substance under one gram and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. In these cases, judges have the option to downgrade the sentence to one year or less, and they could waive penalties if you have a good attorney. For example, you could be sent to rehab instead of prison.
First Degree Felonies
First degree felonies are the second most severe crimes you can be convicted of, one step below capital offenses. A first-degree felony could come with a life sentence, but it cannot come with a death sentence. For example, murder can be a capital offense, but attempted murder is a first-degree felony. The minimum sentence for a first-degree felony is five years. And you could be hit with a fine of up to ten thousand dollars.
Second Degree Felonies
Second degree felonies are among the more severe convictions in the state of Texas. Arson is a second-degree felony, unless the arson killed someone. Manslaughter is a second-degree felony, while murder is a first degree or capital offense. Possessing 50 to 2,000 pounds of cannabis is a second-degree felony. A second-degree felony comes with a sentence of two to twenty years in prison.
Third Degree Felonies
Third degree felonies are considered less severe than state felonies. This category includes stalking, intoxication assault, indecent exposure to a child and evidence tampering. You could be ordered to pay a fine of up to ten thousand dollars. If sent to prison, the term is somewhere between two years and ten years.