What Are the Harshest Legal Punishments in Texas?

Toughest Legal Punishments in Texas

Texas is well-known throughout the country for taking a tough stance on crime and punishment. The Lone Star State has a well-deserved reputation for enacting severe consequences for major crimes. However, some legal punishments are harsher than others.

In Texas, the sentence for a criminal conviction is a direct reflection of the severity and the circumstances of a particular crime. The more severe the crime, the harsher the punishment will be. The punishments for different crimes can be broken down into different tiers of severity. No matter how you look at it, it’s plain to see that breaking the law in Texas can lead to some very serious consequences.

Levels of Punishment

In Texas, punishments are divided into three primary categories:

These punishments increase in severity from relatively minor misdemeanor sentences all the way up to capital punishments, which include the death penalty. Each punishment category applies to corresponding offenses.


Misdemeanors are among the least severe criminal acts in the state of Texas. They are more serious than a parking ticket but not severe enough to be punished with a prison sentence. They range from petty offenses to burglary or simple assault. Some examples of misdemeanor offenses include:

  • First-time DWI
  • Evading arrest on foot
  • Possession of two to four ounces of marjiuana
  • Harassment
  • Prostitution

Misdemeanors are broken up into three categories: Class A, Class B and Class C. Class C misdemeanors are punishable by:

  • A fine of up to $500

Class B misdemeanors are punishable by:

  • A fine of up to $2000
  • Up to 180 days in county jail
  • Up to two years of probation

Class A misdemeanors are punishable by:

  • A fine of up to $4000
  • Up to one year in county jail
  • Up to two years of probation

In general, a misdemeanor crime cannot be punished with more than a one-year term in county jail. If the crime calls for a longer incarceration sentence than that, it’s a felony offense.


Felony offenses are among the most serious crimes in the Texas criminal justice system. These offenses often involve actions that harm others or constitute a threat to public safety. As such, the punishments for these offenses are generally more severe than punishments used in misdemeanor cases.

Some examples of felony offenses include:

Like misdemeanor offenses, felonies are divided into distinct categories. Each category includes its own range of legal punishments. For example a third-degree felony can be punished with:

  • Two to 10 years in state prison
  • A fine of up to $10,000

A second degree felony can be penalized with:

  • Two to 20 years in state prison
  • Up to $10,000 in fines

A first degree felony crime can be punished with:

  • Five to 99 years or life in prison
  • A fine of up to $10,000

Felony crimes include the category of capital felonies. This category includes the crime of capital, or first degree, murder. In Texas, the death penalty is sometimes used in capital murder cases. This means that a person who is convicted of intentionally and maliciously killing another person can be sentenced to death by lethal injection.

Legal Defenses

Being accused of any crime, whether a misdemeanor or a felony, is a very serious matter. A criminal record that includes a conviction can lead to years of frustration, legal penalties, lost job opportunities and public disgrace. In some cases, even being accused of a crime is enough to drastically alter a person’s life.

That’s why it’s so important to find great legal representation as soon as charges are filed. With the right kind of legal defense, it may be possible to fight legal charges in court or even have charges dropped or reduced.

Have you recently had a run in with the law in Texas? You owe it to yourself to get the best legal protection possible. Matthew Sharp is the tough, smart attorney you need on your side. Contact his office today at (713) 868-6100.