• T. Maxwell Smith, PLLC

Penalties and Punishments for Texas Criminal Offenses

Updated: Apr 24, 2020

This blog is not to be considered legal advice. It refers specifically to issues regarding the law of the State of Texas at the time it was written and it is not guaranteed to be an exhaustive update of all Criminal Punishment law.


In Criminal cases there are two phases. First there is a phase which determines the guilt or the innocence of the Defendant. In all Criminal cases the 6th Amendment to the United States Constitution grants the Defendant the right to a trial by jury and the right to an attorney. Second, if the Defendant is found to be guilty, there is a phase that determines what the punishment will be.


In Texas, there are rules that govern the ranges of punishment for each class of crime. These rules can be found in the Texas Penal Code §12.


In Texas, there are Misdemeanor offenses, there are State Jail Felonies, and there are Felony offenses. Misdemeanors are classified as Class A, Class B, or Class C. State Jail Felonies are a class of their own bridging the gap between Misdemeanors and Felonies. Felonies can be either Capital Felonies, First Degree, Second Degree, or Third Degree.


The typical range of punishment for these crimes can be seen below, in the order of severity from least to most severe:


Class C Misdemeanor - Texas Penal Code §12.23

  • No jail;

  • Fine up to $500.


Class B Misdemeanor - Texas Penal Code §12.22

  • Up to 180 days in jail;

  • Fine up to $2,000.


Class A Misdemeanor - Texas Penal Code §12.21

  • Up to 1 year in jail;

  • Fine up to $4,000


State Jail Felony - Texas Penal Code §12.35 (a) and (b)

  • 180 days - 2 years in a state jail;

  • Fine up to $10,000


Third Degree Felony - Texas Penal Code §12.34

  • 2 - 10 years imprisonment in the institutional division;

  • Fine up to $10,000.


Second Degree Felony - Texas Penal Code §12.33

  • 2 - 20 years imprisonment in the institutional division;

  • Fine up to $10,000


First Degree Felony - Texas Penal Code §12.32

  • 5 - 99 years imprisonment in the institutional division;

  • 25 - 99 for aggravated assault of a child under 6;



  • 25 - 99 for aggravated assault of a child under 14 if threat of serious bodily injury / use of a deadly weapon;

  • Life in prison;

  • Fine up to $10,000.


Capital Felony - Texas Penal Code §12.31

  • Death Penalty;

  • Life without parole imprisonment in the institutional division.




If you have been accused of a crime contact an attorney as soon as possible in the process in order to give him or her the best chance to assist you in your case. Call the Law Office of T. Maxwell Smith, PLLC today at (817) 475-5522.





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