The Legal Differences Between Felonies and Misdemeanors in Texas
Assault is a serious crime in the state of Texas, and an assault charge should never be taken lightly. That being said, it is important to know the different levels of assault charges in case you ever face one, as the penalties vary drastically. For the purpose of simplicity, we will only be focusing on non-sexual assault in this post.
The largest difference that can distinguish one assault from another is whether it is designated a felony or a misdemeanor. Misdemeanors often have lower penalties and are considered less serious. Misdemeanor-offenders often face short jail sentences, fines, and restrictions following their conviction (while domestic assault is a misdemeanor, those convicted are no longer allowed to own guns or ammunition in Texas for the rest of their lives). By looking at the Texas Penal Code, the differences become quite clear.
1st Degree Felony
2nd Degree Felony
3rd Degree Felony
State Jail Felony
Class A Misdemeanor
Class B Misdemeanor
Penalty Differences Between Felonies and Misdemeanors
The most significant difference between felony and misdemeanor penalties is the amount in fines that is possible. The maximum fine for the lowest level felony (state jail felony) is over double that of the highest level misdemeanor (Class A misdemeanor). The exact amount of the fines will change on a case by case basis and at the discretion of the courts, as will the length of the sentence.
The length of the sentence is also dramatically changed if it’s a misdemeanor or felony. Where higher level felonies can result in life in prison with no hope of parole, misdemeanors have a maximum of one year jail time. This is the difference between having a chance at recovering your life and spending the rest of your life behind bars.
How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
A criminal defense attorney can help a person charged with assault lower their charges to misdemeanor-level or remove the charges entirely. An attorney can also reduce the penalties to the lower end based on the charges. In these cases, having the right lawyer can be a literal lifesaver.
If you or a loved one is facing assault charges, please contact the law offices of Case J. Darwin. Our team has years of experience handling criminal cases just like yours, and we are proud to stand by your side.