A third degree felony is a serious crime in Texas. Consequences of a conviction include a jail sentence between two and ten years and a fine of up to $10,000. In some cases, a third degree felony will be enhanced, carrying even more severe consequences.
What Is a Third Degree Felony in Texas?
Felonies are the most serious type of crime in Texas, and they are split into five categories.
In descending order, from the most serious to the least, they are:
- Capital felonies
- First degree felonies
- Second degree felonies
- Third degree felonies
- State Jail felonies
While third degree felonies are considered the second-least serious classification of a felony, they are still more serious than misdemeanors and infractions, and aside from hefty penalties, they result in a permeant criminal record.
Third Degree Felony Examples
Third degree felonies include serious crimes, with some of the most common examples being drug possession, theft, and assault.
If you are found in possession of drugs, including between 1 and 4 grams of dangerous drugs such as cocaine or heroin, or between 1 and 4 grams of hallucinogenic drugs such as ecstasy and amphetamines.
Theft is classified as a third degree felony if the stolen property is valued between $30,000 and $150,000, or if someone is charged with stealing trade secrets. Mail theft is considered a third degree felony if more than 30 addresses have been stolen from, as is cargo theft if the cargo is valued between $10,000 and $100,000.
If the assault was against a public servant, emergency personnel, an employee of a correctional facility, a security guard, or a pregnant person, or if the alleged victim was choked during the assault.
Other examples of third degree felonies include burglary, fraud, and child abandonment.
Penalties for Third Degree Felonies in Texas
According to the Texas Penal Code, felonies in Texas are punished by:
- A jail sentence that’s no longer than 10 years, and no shorter than 2 years.
- A fine of up to $10,000.
However, the collateral damage of a felony conviction can make life difficult even after the jail sentence has been served and the fines paid.
Collateral Consequences of a Conviction for a Third Degree Felony in Texas
There are a number of collateral consequences brought on by a conviction for a third degree felony.
- Loss of your right to vote
- Loss of your right to own or possess firearms
- A permanent criminal record
- Difficulties in obtaining loans
- Difficulties in school or college admissions
- Difficulty in finding accommodation
- Losing eligibility for certain employment opportunities
- Losing eligibility for certain professional certifications
This is not an exhaustive list of all the possible collateral consequences of a third degree felony. The negative impact that a criminal record can have on the economic and social situation of someone’s life is immense. Background checks are required for most jobs these days, and even potential landlords and banks will want to run checks before agreeing to anything.
That’s why if you or a loved one have been arrested with felony charges, you should do your best to fight against them with the help of a professional and experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Probation for Third Degree Felony Conviction in Texas
A probationary sentence is possible for certain third degree offenses, but not all of them. Depending on the circumstances, probation can be served either by the judge or the jury. Probation does not take the place of a conviction, but it does replace the jail sentence or at least part of it.
In Texas, probation is referred to as community supervision. It allows a convict to serve their time while still in the community, under strict supervision from a probation officer. If the terms and conditions of the probation are broken, the offender can be sent to jail.
In some cases, a judge is powerless to serve community supervision instead of a jail sentence. These offenses are known as 3G offenses, and they include the following crimes:
- Capital murder
- Sexual assault
- Aggravated Kidnapping
- Aggravated robbery
- Indecency with a child
While the judge does not hold the power to serve probation for 3G offenses, the jury still can. In addition, plea bargain negotiation may be used to increase the odds of probation.
Enhancing Third Degree Felonies Into Second-Degree
When a third degree felony is enhanced, it becomes a second degree felony, and the consequences become more severe. Certain circumstances can elevate a third degree felony.
For example, while theft between $30,000 and $150,000 would usually be classified as a third degree felony, it becomes enhanced if the victim was a non-profit organization.
If you have previously been convicted of a felony, then your current third degree felony may be enhanced.
Second degree felony convictions come with longer prison sentences. The penalties for a second degree felony are:
- Imprisonment for a maximum of 20 years, and a minimum of 2 years.
- A fine of up to $10,000.
If you or someone you care about has been charged with a felony of the third degree, you need to get in touch with an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately. Every minute you wait and worry is a minute that could have been spent building a solid defense case. Get your free case review from Michael and Associates today and increase your chance of a better outcome.