All Criminal Charges Are Serious
There is an important distinction in the Texas criminal justice system between misdemeanors and felonies. As most people know, misdemeanors are lesser crimes with less stringent penalties, while felony charges are reserved for the more serious, often violent crimes that carry longer prison sentences and stiffer fines. While these distinctions are important, all criminal charges are serious. Even a seemingly meaningless misdemeanor will go on your permanent record and have potentially long-term implications.
If you have been charged with a crime, talk to me, attorney Jeremy Sylestine. At Sylestine Law PLLC, I defend clients against most misdemeanor and felony charges. In my more than 15 years of criminal law experience, I have handled cases ranging from the simplest traffic violations to severe violent felonies, like aggravated assault, as well as child abuse and domestic violence. In my former role as a prosecutor, I have gained valuable knowledge about how these cases are handled from the other side. I know how to protect you against criminal charges of any kind.
What Is The Difference Between Felonies And Misdemeanors?
Generally, misdemeanors and felonies are distinguished by the severity of the crime. The criminal justice system tries to inflict penalties that are somewhat commensurate to the severity of the crime involved.
The primary distinction between the two is that misdemeanors are punishable by up to a year of imprisonment, while felonies are crimes that bring more than a year on conviction. However, there are other, less official distinctions. Misdemeanor incarceration usually involves county jail or other, less intimidating facilities than the prison sentences for felony convictions.
In Texas, misdemeanors are broken into three primary categories: Classes A through C. Class A misdemeanors are the most serious, bringing up to a year in jail time and serious fines.
Felonies, of course, are more serious charges, with five categories distinguishing between the various levels of seriousness:
- Capital felony: A capital felony is reserved for the most violent and serious of crimes, including felony murder, and life imprisonment or the death penalty are potential sentences for a conviction.
- First-degree felony: A conviction for a first-degree felony can bring up to $10,000 in fines and life imprisonment.
- Second-degree felony: These felonies are limited to $20,000 in fines and up to 10 years in prison.
- Third-degree felony: A conviction for a third-degree felony will also bring up to 10 years in prison, but the fines are limited to $10,000.
- State-jail felony: Although it’s the least serious of the types of felonies, a state-jail felony is still a serious crime. A conviction can bring up to $10,000 in fines and two years in prison.