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What Does a State Jail Felony Mean in Texas?


Explore the Most Common Types of State Jail Felonies and What This Charge Could Mean for You

You probably know that there are different types of felonies, but what you might not realize is that different states actually have different numbers of felony offense levels. For example, in Texas, there are seven different levels of offenses that come with varying punishments, including a state jail felony, a third-degree felony, a second-degree felony, a first-degree felony, and a capital felony. This felony-level division is different than a state like Ohio, which only has five levels of felonies (felony of the first degree, felony of the second degree, felony of the third degree, felony of the fourth degree, and felony of the fifth degree).

In Texas, although state jail felonies are severe in the sense that they are a felony, they are the least severe of all the felonies. If charged with a state jail felony in Texas, the offender typically serves 180 days to two years in a state jail and a possible fine of up to $10,000. Community service might also be mandated. Examples of crimes that would be charged as state jail felonies include:

  • Burglary of a building
  • Credit card abuse
  • Coercing a minor to join a gang by threatening violence
  • Criminal nonsupport
  • Criminally negligent homicide
  • DWI with a child passenger
  • Cruelty to animals
  • False alarm or report
  • Evading arrest in a vehicle
  • Fraudulent use or possession of identifying information
  • Forgery of a check
  • Improper photography or visual recording
  • White-collar fraud getting a hard money loan
  • Interference of child custody
  • Theft of a possession valued between $1500 and $20,000
  • Unauthorized use of a vehicle
  • Possession of less than one gram of a controlled substance

Will Texas Extradite for a State Jail Felony?

If you are not familiar with the Extradition Clause in the U.S. Constitution, it requires that states, upon demand of another state, deliver a fugitive from justice who has committed a “treason, felony, or other crime” to the state from which the fugitive has fled. This is sometimes necessary because if a warrant is issued for an individual’s arrest for a crime committed in Texas, the crime must be prosecuted in Texas. If the person is not located in Texas, they can be extradited to the state for the proceedings.

Extradition is an expensive process, so it is typically only used in felony cases, but if you have an outstanding state jail felony and flee the state of Texas, you would become a fugitive from justice and be subject to extradition. Becoming a fugitive from justice is not a good situation to be in. Fugitives from justice are at risk of being subject to more serious penalties than they otherwise might have been, and the courts will be less willing to look upon the case with any degree of empathy.

Instead of fleeing the state, your best bet if you are faced with a state jail felony charge is to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney like Derek A. Adame. He has spent more than fifteen years representing hundreds of cases, and there is a good reason he has become established as one of the top lawyers of his kind in the state of Texas. He will work tirelessly to represent you and produce the best possible outcome for your case.

Can a State Jail Felony Be Expunged in Texas?

Because a state jail felony is punishable under Section 12.44 (a) which allows the trial court to either send you to a local county jail or serve time, it cannot be expunged. However, working with a knowledgeable lawyer will be your best way to get the charge reduced to a Class A Misdemeanor. This would likely yield a lighter punishment and appear more favorable on a background check, but it is unlikely to be expunged because Texas allows very few criminal records to be eligible for expunction. Only the following types of criminal records can be expunged in Texas:

  • Arrest records that did not lead to a criminal charge
  • Criminal charges that were dismissed and the statute of limitations has expired
  • Juvenile misdemeanors
  • Arrest records for certain acquittals
  • Convictions that were pardoned or overturned on appeal for actual innocence
  • Class C misdemeanors, after a successful deferred adjudication

If you are facing one of these charges and are concerned about how it will impact your future, there is light at the end of the tunnel. In the state of Texas, criminal background checks generated by an employer can go back seven years into the applicant’s criminal and personal history. Most applicants are cut off at a seven-year check unless the salary exceeds $75,000. Therefore, if you have a criminal record, future employers will be able to see it for some time, but this situation will likely not be permanent. To secure the best possible future for yourself, you will want to work with a criminal defense firm that holds itself to the highest standards, which is what you will find with Derek A. Adame, Attorney at Law.

To learn more about state jail felonies and how Derek A. Adame, Attorney at Law can give you the legal support you need, give us a call at (940) 441-4239 or contact us online.

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