Misdemeanor vs Felony What You Need to Know

Not all crimes are the same. In Texas and all throughout the United States, there are two main types of crimes you need to know about: misdemeanors and felonies.

Generally, felonies are more severe than misdemeanors. In fact, they are the most severe crimes you can commit. If you get three felonies in Texas and some other states, this serves as “three strikes” and you will receive a life sentence in prison. Here is a closer look at how misdemeanors and felonies differ from each other.

Key Differences

Misdemeanors are minor crimes. They can still result in jail time, but they are not violent crimes. Some examples include shoplifting, driving with a suspended license, and a bar fight, like simple assault. Even a small amount of drugs in your possession may be a misdemeanor. The typical penalties include less than one year in prison and a small fine. Also, a misdemeanor has no effect on your civil rights. You can still vote and carry firearms, for example.

There are several classes of misdemeanors. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000. A Class B misdemeanor can result in 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. A Class C misdemeanor typically comes with no jail time but there may be a fine of up to $500.

Felonies are much more severe crimes. They are typically violent and may include crimes such as arson, robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, and murder. However, not all felonies are violent. Fraud and forgery are white-collar crimes that are often charged as felonies.

There are five classes of felonies in Texas. A capital felony is the most severe one and it can result in the death penalty or life in prison. A capital murder is the only crime that can be punished as a capital felony in Texas. This includes murdering a police officer, fireman, or child under the age of 10.

There is also a first-degree felony, which can result in a $10,000 fine and five to 99 years in prison. A second-degree felony can also result in a $10,000 fine as well as two to 20 years in prison. For a third-degree felony, the punishment includes a $10,000 fine and two to 10 years in prison. A state jail felony can mean two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

A felony can strip you of your rights to vote and own firearms. It can also make it difficult to find housing and employment.

Contact Our Austin Criminal Defense Attorneys Today

Misdemeanors and felonies are the two major categories of crimes. They differ in many ways, with felonies being the more severe of the two.

The Austin criminal defense lawyers from Granger and Mueller PC can defend you from the criminal charges you face. Whether you are being charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, we can help. To schedule a consultation with our office, fill out the online form or call (512) 474-9999.