What’s the Difference Between a Felony and a Misdemeanor in Texas?

By Jeff Kennedy

In Texas as elsewhere, there are differences between the criminal, personal, and even social consequences of a felony conviction and a misdemeanor. 

Read on to learn why both of them are important enough that you should do all you can—including reaching out to a Fort Worth defense lawyer—to avoid conviction. 

Texas Felony Charges

A Texas felony conviction is one that is usually punished by a stint in either jail or state prison. 

The most serious felonies in the state are capital felonies. These crimes are punishable by the death penalty, or life without parole if the death penalty is not sought by the prosecuting attorney. The most infamous example of a capital crime would be murder. 

Other felonies may be either first-, second-, or third-degree or state jail felonies. 

  • First-Degree Felonies – These include some forms of sexual assault, as an example, and could result in up to life imprisonment.
  • Second-Degree Felonies – With penalties ranging from two to twenty years in prison, second-degree felonies could include some drug crimes or violent crimes. 
  • Third-Degree Felonies – These can be punished by up to ten year’s imprisonment. 
  • State Jail Felonies – These crimes can be punished by anywhere between 180 days and two years in jail.

Examples of Misdemeanors in Texas

Misdemeanors generally refer to crimes of a less serious nature than felonies, and the punishments for a conviction are accordingly less severe. You should not make the mistake of believing that a misdemeanor charge is not to be taken seriously, however. 

Misdemeanors include crimes that, generally, do not involve violence or severe property damage. 

Some examples include: 

  • First-time DWIs
  • Possession of certain drugs
  • Theft
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Many others

Even though misdemeanors are considered lesser crimes, the possible punishments still include incarceration, fines, and other restrictions. 

Whether you’re facing misdemeanor, felony, or both charges in Texas, a criminal defense lawyer with The Law Offices of Jeff C. Kennedy can help. 

Speak with a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Texas

Are you facing possible felony or misdemeanor criminal conviction in Texas? Don’t wait until it’s too late to get the help you need—contact one of the experienced criminal defense attorneys with The Law Offices of Jeff C. Kennedy now. 

Call us at 817-605-1010 or fill out our online form to get started. 


Jeff C. Kennedy was the light of hope at the end of very dark storm. He was not only able to defend my case swiftly, but had the alleged charges dismissed completely. His calm and empathetic demeanor offered emotional succor to myself and those I care about most. My children and I are eternally grateful for his excellent service and I hereby recommend Jeff C. Kennedy without reservation.


Jeff Kennedy truly cares. He and his staff kept me informed all the way throughout my case and provided me with all my options and the potential outcomes for my case. When the day finally arrived to resolve my case, Jeff was able to negotiate a reduction to a lesser charge. He was well prepared and coordinated everything perfectly. Jeff is not only a good lawyer, but a good man.


I hired Mr. Jeff Kennedy to handle a DWI charge. From day one, I knew I had picked the right attorney. Jeff always took the time to answer any of my questions, treated me very professionally, and truly cared about my case. I have never been in any kind of trouble before and I was very nervous about the thought of going to trial. Jeff thoroughly explained the entire process to me and made me feel at ease. Jeff took my case to trial and the jury found me NOT GUILTY!


Jeff Kennedy is a professional, intelligent, easy-to-talk-to lawyer with an excellent understanding of how the system works. Jeff was able to get my twice the legal limit BAC thrown out and he kept me from having an interlock device put on my car. This has been my only big mistake in life so far (hopefully the last) and I am glad he was there to walk me through it. You will not regret hiring him.

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