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Felony and Misdemeanor Differences

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Atascosa County criminal defense attorneyWhat is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?

So in Texas we have two broad categories of crime. We have felonies and we have misdemeanors. Generally speaking felonies are considered more serious than misdemeanors. Felonies come in a few different levels from state jail felony all the way up to capital, whereas misdemeanors go from a Class A to a Class C.

Which charge is worse? A misdemeanor or a felony?

Again broadly speaking, felonies are considered more serious than misdemeanors.

What are the different classes of misdemeanors and felonies?

So misdemeanors come in three different varieties: Class A, Class B, and a Class C. It's worth noting that Class C is usually a traffic violation. So something like speeding or running a stop sign that is punishable by fine only. A Class-A misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum up to a year in the county jail. Compare this with felonies. Felonies go from a state jail felony all the way up to a capital felony. Felonies can obviously land you in prison for the rest of your life if convicted.

What are some examples of misdemeanor and felony crimes?

So some common examples of misdemeanors in Texas are going to be things like shoplifting, possession of marijuana, DWI 1st offense. Compare that with felony situations, again these are crimes that are more serious in nature. Times where people were hurt physically or financially. We have things like bribery and fraud, arson and various kinds of assaults.

What if I have prior convictions?

So Texas law certainly allows for the enhancement of punishment ranges for certain repeat and habitual offenders. What this means is if you have been previously convicted of a crime, this can be used against you in any subsequent criminal proceedings to enhance your punishment range. So by way of example a DWI 1st -- traditionally a Class B misdemeanor -- is subject up to 180 days in jail. However, a DWI third offense can be treated as a third degree felony punishable up to 10 years in prison.

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