Misdemeanors and felonies in the state of Texas are classified into classes. These classes are ranked from most severe to least severe.
There are five types of felonies. Capital felonies are the most serious of all offenses and are at the top of the list. Those charged with capital felonies are frequently sentenced to death. If the death penalty is not used, the accused will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Because some trials do not seek the death penalty, if the accused is found guilty of a capital felony, he or she will almost always be sentenced to life in prison.
First-degree felonies are punishable by imprisonment for a term of no more than 99 years and no less than five years. A $10,000 fine may be imposed in addition to or instead of a prison sentence.
Second-degree felonies are punishable by a $10,000 fine in addition to or instead of incarceration. Those charged with a second-degree felony face a maximum sentence of twenty years in prison or a minimum sentence of two years.
Felonies in the third degree are punishable by no more than ten years in prison and no less than two years in prison, in addition to or instead of a $10,000 fine.
State jail felonies are punishable by imprisonment for no less than 180 days and no more than two years. Instead, a fine of no more than ten thousand dollars may be imposed. If a weapon was used, a state jail felony can be upgraded to a third-degree felony.
Misdemeanor offenses are less serious than felonies and carry less serious charges. In certain circumstances, a Class A Misdemeanor may result in a year in jail, a fine of no more than $4,000, or both.
Class B misdemeanors are punishable by a fine of no more than $2,000, a jail sentence of no more than 180 days, or both, depending on the circumstances of the crime.
Class C misdemeanors are the least serious of all punishments, with a fine of no more than $500. A Class C Misdemeanor conviction carries no legal disability or disadvantage.
Texas Misdemeanor Expungement
When an arrest record is expunged, the offender is relieved of the obligation to state the offense on paper, but not under oath. C class Misdemeanors may be expunged in certain circumstances, but only if certain criteria, such as community supervision and deferred adjudication, are met. Except in certain domestic violence cases, expungement may also restore the right to bear arms in nearly all convictions.
Some records in Texas can be sealed rather than expunged. These usually only include juvenile records. Sealing records prevents the public from viewing them unless future proceedings require it. For a person to be eligible, two years must have passed since their discharge, and no other felonies or misdemeanors may have been committed since that time.