In Texas, the legislature has divided up criminal offenses based on the crime’s severity. Crimes that the legislature believes to be more serious have higher minimum punishments and/or maximum punishments. In most cases, probation is possible instead of incarceration, but that will depend on the very specific factors of any particular case. These rules are full of exceptions and it is important to ask your lawyer how the particular facts of your case may affect your potential punishment. It is important that you know that information.
The least severe “crimes” are class “C” misdemeanors. They are punishable with no jail time and up to a $500 fine. The majority of traffic tickets fall into this category. Examples include Public Intoxication, Driving Under the Influence (NOT THE SAME AS DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED) and most Thefts under $50.
Class “B” misdemeanors are punishable by up to a $2000 fine and up to 6 months in jail. Driving While Intoxicated (First Offense), Most Thefts between $50 and $500, Possession of Marijuana (less than 2 ounces) and Driving While License Invalid are in this punishment range.
Class “A” misdemeanors are punishable by up to a $4000 fine and up to a year in jail. Crimes of this class include Driving While Intoxicated (Second Offense), Most thefts between $500 and $1500, Possession of Marijuana (2 to 4 ounces) and Assault causing bodily injury.
“State Jail” Felonies have a punishment range from 6 months to 2 years behind bars. It is very important to be aware that anyone doing time for a state jail felony will not get any “good time” credit. Someone sentenced to a year in state jail will spend every day for a year incarcerated. These crimes include Possession of Cocaine (less than 1 gram), Possession of Marijuana (4 ounces to 5 pounds), and Thefts between $1500 and $20,000.