Criminal Defense

Misdemeanor vs. Felony

Most people are aware that criminal charges in Texas are divided into felonies and misdemeanors.  Felonies are generally considered to be more serious crimes, and misdemeanors are generally considered to be less serious offenses. This is reflected in the punishment lengths and types (including jail time and/or fines).  For example, the maximum amount of time you can be sentenced to jail for a misdemeanor is one year versus 99 years for the most serious felonies. Furthermore, Texas law allows for the death penalty for capital felonies.

Potential Punishment for Felony Convictions:

Degree Punishment Range Examples
Capital Felony
  • Death Penalty or Life in Prison without Parole;
  • Capital Murder;
  • Murder of a Judicial Official;
  • Murder Committed During the Commission of Certain Felonies (e.g. Robbery)
First Degree Felony
  • 5 – 99 years in prison;
  • Up to $10,000.00 in fines
  • Murder;
  • Arson;
  • Aggravated Kidnapping;
  • Aggravated Robbery
Second Degree Felony
  • 2 – 20 years in prison;
  • Up to $10,000.00 in fines
  • Rape;
  • Sexual Assault of a Child;
  • Aggravated Assault;
  • Vehicular Manslaughter
Third Degree Felony
  • 2 – 10 years in prison;
  • Up to $10,000.00 in fines
  • Assault with Domestic Violence (with a prior conviction for the same offense);
  • Stalking (1st offense);
  • Failure to Register as a Sex Offender;
  • DWI 3rd or higher
Fourth Degree Felony, also known as State Jail Felony 180 days – 2 years in jail; Up to $10,000.00 in fines
  • Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle;
  • Possession of Certain Drugs < 1 gram

Potential Punishment for Misdemeanor Convictions:

Class Punishment Range Examples
Class A Misdemeanor
  • Up to 1 year in jail;
  • Up to $4,000.00 in fines;
  • Up to 3 years of community service
  • Theft $500 – $2000;
  • DWI 2nd;
  • Burglary of a Motor Vehicle;
  • Assault with Domestic Violence (1st offense)
Class B Misdemeanor
  • Up to 6 months in jail;
  • Up to $2,000.00 in fines;
  • Up to 3 years of community service
  • Theft $50- $500;
  • Criminal Trespass;
  • Possession of Marijuana < 2 ounces;
  • DWI 1st;
  • Prostitution;
  • Solicitation of a Prostitute (1st offense)
Class C Misdemeanor Up to $500.00 in fines
  • Minor traffic offenses;
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia;
  • Public intoxication;
  • Minor-in-Possession


Having a criminal record can lead to negative consequences for a lot of reasons, especially because it can often impact your ability to find a job or even housing. But did you know that a criminal record could also affect your applications for college and your ability to get financial aid?  However, in some cases, you may be able to have your criminal record expunged or sealed by an Order of Non-Disclosure.

Frequently, if you received a sentence of deferred adjudication, you may petition the court for an Order of Non-Disclosure once you have successfully completed deferred adjudication and avoided conviction. Obtaining expungement is much more difficult.

Furthermore, if you were arrested but not charged with a crime, you may be eligible for expungement or an Order of Non-Disclosure after the statute of limitations has run, the length of which varies depending on the offense for which you were arrested.

Certain criminal charges are not eligible for expungement or sealing in Texas. These include:

  • sex offenses;
  • injury to a child, disabled person, or elderly person;
  • child abandonment or endangerment;
  • aggravated kidnapping;
  • stalking;
  • offenses involving domestic violence;
  • violation of protective order or magistrate’s order;
  • murder

Criminal Defense

If you are facing criminal charges, you know that a conviction can have serious consequences that may reverberate through the rest of your life. You need an experienced criminal defense lawyer who knows the Texas criminal justice system. Our criminal defense attorneys handle cases from Misdemeanors to First Degree Felonies. Some examples of the types of charges we defend our clients against include:

  • Assault
  • Battery
  • Burglary
  • Computer Crimes
  • Cyber-stalking
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Disturbing the Peace
  • Domestic Violence
  • Drug Possession
  • Drug Trafficking
  • DUI
  • DWI
  • Fraud
  • Identity Theft
  • Larceny
  • Prostitution
  • Rape
  • Robbery
  • Solicitation of a Prostitute
  • Theft by Check
  • Theft of Services

If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime, please contact your Dallas criminal defense attorney.