Punishment in Accordance with Code

PC u00a712.01 states that a person adjudged guilty of an offense shall be punished in accordance with this chapter and the Code of Criminal Procedure. Penal laws enacted after the effective date of this code shall be classified for punishment purposes in accordance with this chapter. This chapter does not deprive a court of authority conferred by law to forfeit property, dissolve a corporation, suspend or cancel a license or permit, remove a person from office, cite for contempt, or impose any other civil penalty. The civil penalty may be included in the sentence.

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Classification of Misdemeanors

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Misdemeanors are classified in PC u00a712.03 according to the relative seriousness of the offense into three categories:

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  • Class A misdemeanors
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  • Class B misdemeanors
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  • Class C misdemeanors
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Conviction of a Class C misdemeanor does not impose any legal disability or disadvantage.

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Punishment and Fines for Misdemeanors

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Misdemeanor punishments are outlined in PC Chapter 12 Subchapter B.

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Class A

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An individual adjudged guilty of a Class A misdemeanor shall be punished by: a fine not to exceed $4,000; confinement in jail for a term not to exceed one year; or both such fine and confinement. (PC u00a712.21)

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Class B

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An individual adjudged guilty of a Class B misdemeanor shall be punished by: a fine not to exceed $2,000; confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days; or both such fine and confinement. (PC u00a712.22)

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Class C

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An individual adjudged guilty of a Class C misdemeanor shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $500. (PC u00a712.23)

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Felony Punishments for Misdemeanors

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A person can face felony penalties depending on prior convictions, increased levels of harm or risk of harm, protected victim status, or a combination of these.

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Enhanced Penalties

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The Penal Code provides enhanced penalties for repeat misdemeanor convictions. In some

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instances, the lawu2019s general enhancement applies. Other misdemeanorsu2014such as assault, theft, and family violence crimesu2014impose enhanced penalties for having a prior conviction for the same or similar offense. Throughout the Penal Code, certain misdemeanors carry increased penalties when the defendant targets a vulnerable or protected individual, targets a victim based on bias or prejudice, or commits the crime in a declared disaster or evacuation area. An enhanced penalty may increase the offense level or impose a mandatory minimum jail sentence.

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Classification of Felonies

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Felonies are classified in PC u00a712.04 according to the relative seriousness of the offense into five categories:

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  • capital felonies
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  • felonies of the first degree
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  • felonies of the second degree
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  • felonies of the third degree
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  • state jail felonies
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Punishment and Fines for Felonies

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Felony punishments are outlined in PC Chapter 12 Subchapter C.

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Capitol Felonies

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If the individual is found guilty and the state seeks the death penalty: imprisonment in the institutional division for life without the possibility of parole, or death. If the individual is found guilty and the state does not seek the death penalty: imprisonment in the institutional division for life without the possibility of parole. A sentence of life imprisonment is mandatory on conviction of the capital felony, if the individual committed the offense when younger than 18 years of age. (PC u00a712.31)

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First Degree Felonies

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A conviction for a first-degree felony can result in life imprisonment or 5 to 99 years imprisonment, as well as a fine of up to $10,000. (PC u00a712.32)

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Second Degree Felonies

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Under Texas law, second-degree felonies are punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. (PC u00a712.33)

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Third Degree Felonies

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A third-degree felony is punishable by 2 to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000. (PC u00a712.34)

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State Jail Felonies

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In Texas, state jail felonies are punishable by 180 days to 2 years in state jail and a fine of up to $10,000. (PC u00a712.35)

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Enhanced Penalties

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Repeat and Habitual Offenders

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Enhanced penalties apply for repeat and habitual offenses involving, but not limited to, deadly weapons, hate crimes, offenses committed in a disaster or evacuation area, and offenses against vulnerable persons. Repeat convictions for sex offenses carry one of the harshest penalty enhancements. A defendant convicted of a second specified sex offense faces a mandatory life sentence.

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Other

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Certain offenses carry enhanced felony penalties of their own for repeat convictions for the same or similar offenses, such as promotion of prostitution, family violence offenses, impaired driving, and theft offenses.

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Crimes committed based on bias or prejudice are increased to the next punishment level, as well as offenses committed in a declared disaster or evacuation area. Certain offenses committed in retaliation against a public servant also increase by a penalty level.

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First to Third Degree Felonies

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For defendants facing their second felony conviction for a first, second, or third degree felony, the law increases the penalty by one degree. So, for instance, a third degree felony becomes a second degree felony. Habitual felony offenders who have two prior felony convictions face the possibility of life in jail.

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State Jail Felonies

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A person convicted of a third state jail faces third degree felony penalties. If the two priors were for higher-level felonies, the penalty bumps up to a second degree felony.

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State Jail Felony Punishment enhances to third degree felony if:

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  • the person used or exhibited a deadly weapon during the crime or while fleeing the crime, and
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  • the person who used or exhibited the deadly weapon or was a party to the offense knew that the deadly weapon would be used or shown;
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  • or the person has previously been convicted of any felony under u00a720A.03 or u00a721.02, or listed in Article 42A.054, Code of Criminal Procedure or for which the judgment contains an affirmative finding under Article 42A.054, Code of Criminal Procedure.
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