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Kris Seago
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Level:
Academic Lower Division
Provider:
Austin Community College
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  • ACC Liberal Arts
  • ACC OER
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    Classifying Criminal Offenses in Texas

    Overview

    Classifying Criminal Offenses in Texas

    Learning Objective

    By the end of this section, you will be able to:

    • Understand how Texas classifies criminal offenses

    Introduction

    The vast majority of crimes are prosecuted at the state level. In every state, crimes are put into distinct categories. The categories are usually “felony,” and “misdemeanor." Decisions on crime classification are made by state legislators; the determination focuses on the seriousness of the crime. This section discusses the classification Texas uses.

    Classification of Criminal Offenses in Texas

    There are two types of crimes in Texas: misdemeanors and felonies.

    Misdemeanors are considered minor crimes, and felonies are defined as major crimes. Misdemeanors and felonies are in turn classified according to the relative seriousness of the offense into three and five categories, respectively.

     

    Offense

    Punishment

    Court of Original Jurisdiction

    Murder(Capital Felony)

    Examples: Murder of a law enforcement official, prison guard, or firefighter on duty; commits murder with other types of felonies; murder for hire; mass murder; murder of someone under the age of 10

    Life without parole or death penalty

    District

    First-degree felony

    Examples: Murder; theft of property worth over $200,000

    5-99 years in prison, and possible maximum fine of

    $10,000

    District

    Second-degree felony

    Examples: Manslaughter; theft of property worth between $100,000-200,000

    2-20 years in prison, and possible maximum fine of $10,000

    District

    Third-degree felony

    Examples: Impersonating someone online; theft of property worth $20,000-100,000

    2-10 years in prison, and possible maximum fine of $10,000

    District

    State Jail Felony

    Examples: Possession of 4 ounces to 1lb of marijuana; theft of property worth $15,000-20,000

    180 days-2 years in prison, and possible maximum fine of $10,000

    District

    Class A Misdemeanor

    Examples: Resisting arrests; theft of property worth $500-1,500

    maximum of 1 year in prison, and/or maximum fine of $4,000

    County

    Class B Misdemeanor

    Examples: Terroristic threat; theft of property worth $20-500

    maximum of 180 days in prison, and/or maximum fine of $2,000

    County

    Class C Misdemeanor

    Examples: theft of property worth less than $20; a person under the age of 21 purchases, attempts to purchase, or in possession of alcohol

    maximum fine $500

    Justice of the Peace or Municipal

    Table 12.1 Classifications of Criminal Offenses in Texas, from Most Serious to Least Serious

    Texting and Driving - Criminal Justice Minute - Texas Business Radio

     

    Licensing and Attribution

    CC LICENSED CONTENT, ORIGINAL

    Sources of Law. Authored by: Kris S. Seago. License: CC BY: Attribution

    CC LICENSED CONTENT, ORIGINAL

    Criminal Law Penalties: Revision and Adaptation. Authored by: Kris S. Seago. License: CC BY: Attribution