An Explanation of First-Degree, Second-Degree and Third-Degree Crimes

An Explanation of First-Degree, Second-Degree and Third-Degree Crimes

November 12, 2020

In most states, crimes are broadly classified according to whether they’re felonies or misdemeanors, which indicates their general severity and what type of punishment can be expected. Texas further subclassifies its felonies as first, second or third degree. The difference between these crime classifications in Lubbock, TX can be significant. Felonies in Texas are punishable by anywhere from a year to life in prison, with fines up to $10,000. The degree will make a big difference in where your sentencing may fall along that spectrum.

If you’ve been charged with a felony, it’s important that you understand what you have been accused of and the penalties it carries. Read on for an explanation of first-, second- and third-degree felony crimes in Lubbock, TX.

First-degree felonies

First-degree felonies are the second most serious crimes in Texas (second only to capital crimes, or crimes for which the prosecutor can request the death penalty). The mandatory minimum length of time you’ll spend in jail, if convicted, is five years—but you could spend up to 99 years in prison. The judge can also require you to pay up to $10,000 in fines.

Some examples of first-degree felony crimes include attempted murder, arson causing death, aggravated robbery, aggravated kidnapping and trafficking persons under age 14.

Whether you already have a criminal record will impact the extent of your punishment. For example, if you have prior felonies on your record, the mandatory minimum sentence is 15 years in prison. If you’re charged with an aggravated sex offense and you have certain prior violent sex offenses on your record, you may be given a life sentence.

Probation is sometimes an option for certain first-degree felonies, but never for murder, aggravated robbery, sexual assault, burglary of a residence with intent to commit a felony or felonies using a deadly weapon.

Second-degree felonies

Second-degree felonies carry punishments from two to 20 years in jail and a maximum fine of $10,000. In some cases, community supervision may be an option. These felonies include online solicitation of a minor under age 14, manslaughter, sexual assault, robbery, bigamy, second offense stalking, arson and bribery. That is, they’re severe crimes—but not the “worst of the worst” like first-degree felonies.

Third-degree felonies

Third-degree felonies have a mandatory minimum of two years in jail, and a maximum of 10 years. The fines imposed can go up to $10,000. Stalking, deadly conduct with a firearm, indecent exposure to a minor and tampering with evidence are all examples of third-degree felonies.

As with all felonies, conviction can result in the loss of your right to vote, own firearms and losing professional licenses. Felonies stay on your criminal record forever.

What about misdemeanors?

Misdemeanors in Texas also have subcategories, but they’re labeled Class A, B and C. That makes it easy to tell whether you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony.

If you’ve been charged with a crime in Lubbock, TX, it’s important you talk to a lawyer. Call The Law Office of Rob Biggers for a consultation.

**This Blog/Website is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog/website you understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Blog/Website publisher. The Blog/Website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.**

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