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  • Writer's pictureBrad Thornton

San Antonio Criminal Lawyer: What is a State Jail Felony in Texas?

As a Board-Certified criminal defense attorney in San Antonio, Texas, I have worked with countless clients who have been charged with a state jail felony. These types of crimes can be confusing and overwhelming, especially for those who have never faced criminal charges before. That's why I've created this guide to help you understand what a state jail felony is, why the legislature created these types of crimes, and what the punishments are if you are convicted.


What is a State Jail Felony?


A state jail felony is a category of criminal offenses in Texas that is considered less serious than a third-degree felony but more serious than a misdemeanor and is punishable by confinement in a state jail facility instead of prison or county jail. Although state jail felonies are considered less serious than other types of felonies, they can still result in a felony conviction which can carry serious consequences. A state jail felony conviction can result in a criminal record that can limit job prospects and other opportunities, and may also impact an individual's ability to obtain certain licenses or certifications, possess a firearm, vote, or serve on a jury.


The history of state jail felonies in Texas can be traced back to 1993, when the state legislature created this new category of criminal offenses. Prior to this time, there were only three types of felonies in Texas: first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree felonies. This meant that individuals who committed less serious crimes often faced harsher punishments than necessary, such as lengthy prison sentences.


The creation of state jail felonies was a response to this problem. The new category of crimes was intended to provide a middle ground between misdemeanors and more serious felonies and to reserve lengthy prison sentences for the most violent and dangerous offenders. In addition, state jail felonies were seen as a way to reduce the number of people who were sent to prison for relatively minor offenses, which was viewed as a drain on the state's resources.


Here are some examples of state jail felonies in Texas:



Punishments for a State Jail Felony in Texas


The punishment for a state jail felony in Texas includes confinement in a state jail facility for a period of 180 days to two years and a fine of up to $10,000. Probation and deferred adjudication is generally available for most state jail felonies and even mandatory for many drug crimes that are classified as a state jail felony.


One major difference between state jail felonies and other felony offenses is that parole or good conduct time is not available for state jail felonies Instead, for offenses committed after September 1, 2011, the offender can be eligible for time credit for enrolling in and “diligent participation” in work, education, and treatment programs offered at the facility.



  • successful completion of an educational, vocational, or treatment program;

  • progress toward successful completion of an educational, vocational, or treatment program that was interrupted by illness, injury, or another circumstance outside the control of the defendant; and

  • active involvement in a work program.


While incarcerated, you are not eligible for this credit if you are found guilty of refusing to work, attend school or complete assignments, or attend or participate in a required treatment program. If you are eligible, the eligibility for credit is sent to the sentencing Judge and is subject to the court’s approval.


Enhancements for State Jail Felonies:


Because state jail felonies are supposed to be the middle ground between felonies and misdemeanors, there are many ways they can be enhanced and reduced. Here are some of the most common examples:


Enhancements

Type of Offense

Prior Convictions

Enhanced Punishment Range

Any state jail felony

Two prior non-state jail felony convictions, with the second committed after the first became final.

2 - 20 years in prison and an optional fine up to $10,000.00

Any state jail felony

One prior felony involving a deadly weapon and any one prior non-state jail felony conviction

2 - 20 years in prison and an optional fine up to $10,000.00

State Jail felony committed with a deadly weapon

One prior non-state jail felony conviction

2 - 20 years in prison and an optional fine up to $10,000.00

Any state jail felony

Two prior state jail felony convictions

2 - 10 years in prison and an optional fine up to $10,000.00

State Jail felony committed with a deadly weapon

No prior felony conviction

2 - 10 years in prison and an optional fine up to $10,000.00

Reductions

12.45(a) Reduction

12.45(b) Reduction

When is it available?

The court may reduce the offense after considering the gravity and circumstances of felony committed and the history, character, and rehabilitative needs of the defendant, and must find the reduction serves the ends of justice.

At the request of the prosecuting attorney, the court may authorize prosecution under this section.

What level of offense is the final conviction?

State Jail Felony Conviction

Class A Misdemeanor Conviction

What is the range of punishment?

Punished as a Class A Misdemeanor: Up to 365 days in the county jail

Punished as a Class A Misdemeanor: Up to 365 days in the county jail and/or a fine up to $4,000.00


San Antonio Criminal Defense Attorney Brad Thornton


San Antonio Criminal Lawyer Brad Thornton

In conclusion, a state jail felony in Texas is a criminal offense that is considered less serious than other types of felonies, but can still have serious consequences. If you are facing charges for a state jail felony, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you understand the charges against you and develop a strong defense strategy on your behalf.


At our firm, we have extensive experience defending clients against state jail felony charges in San Antonio and throughout Texas. We understand the potential consequences of a conviction, and we are committed to helping our clients achieve the best possible outcome in their case.


If you are facing charges for a state jail felony in Texas, please do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. Our team of skilled criminal defense attorneys will work tirelessly to protect your rights and defend your interests every step of the way. Call us today at 210-439-5627 to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you.

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CRIMINAL LAW BLOG

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Attorney Brad Thornton is a highly experienced and Board-Certified criminal defense lawyer. With his background as a former Chief Prosecutor, he has a unique understanding of the criminal justice system and is able to provide comprehensive and effective representation to his clients. He is also deeply committed to ensuring that all individuals receive fair treatment in court, regardless of their background or circumstances.

Brad Thornton is dedicated to helping his clients achieve the best possible outcome for their case, whether it is in San Antonio or elsewhere in South Texas. He recognizes the stress and anxiety that can come with being accused of a crime, and approaches his clients with compassion while keeping them informed at every step of the process. His knowledge and experience make him a strong advocate for his clients.

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Atascosa County Criminal Defense Attorney

San Antonio Office:

111 Soledad, Suite 401

San Antonio, Texas 78205

Tel: 210-439-5627

Atascosa Office:

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Pleasanton, Texas 78064

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