First-time State-Jail Felony Arrests in Texas.

A state-jail felony in Texas is a low level felony. It carries between 6 months and 2 years in jail. It also has a fine of up to $10,000.00. But the good news is that a state-jail felony offense often gives defense attorneys and prosecutors room to work out a fair deal.

For example, in some cases, Bexar County prosecutors offer pretrial diversion (PTD) with these low-level felonies. PTD contains a strong upside that may allow people to walk away with a clean record. But there are major strings attached to a PTD deal.

Namely, PTD allows a person to pay back a victim, complete classes, or perform community service. In return, if the person completes PTD, then the prosecutor will drop the charges. This allows people to file paperwork after they complete PTD to erase or expunge their record.

However, the biggest hurdle with a PTD plea is that prosecutors must offer it. If they do not, then you cannot enter into the PTD program. And this hurdle depends on the facts of your case.

Finally, another option is for the prosecutor to agree to lower the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor. In this type of deal, the prosecutor may require the person to pay back the victim of the crime upfront. And the major benefit is it helps a person avoid a felony conviction.

What are examples of state-jail felonies in Texas?

CrimePenal CodePossible Options
Poss. of a Controlled Substance, Less than 1 Gram.Tex. Health and Safety Code § 481.115.1. PTD Possible.
2. Deferred probation.
Theft between $2,500>$30,000.00.Tex. Penal Code § 31.03(e)(4)(A).1. PTD possible.
2. Deferred Probation.
Criminal Mischief between $2,500>$30,000.00.Tex. Penal Code § 28.03(b)(4)(A).1. PTD possible.
2. Deferred probation.
DWI with a Child Passenger.Tex. Penal Code § 49.045.1. Probation is possible.
2. Possible to lower charge.

State-jail crimes are petty felonies.

The major takeaway is that state-jail felony crimes are a type of petty felony. They are not as significant as a normal felony. But at the same time, police and prosecutors cannot simply look away at this type of conduct.

The table above illustrates this point. In fact, simple drug possession is perhaps the most common state-jail felony in Bexar County, Texas. This crime happens when police arrest a person and find a small baggie of coke, meth, or heroin. The amount of drugs is less than a gram, which means it is for personal use.

Another example is stealing computers or smart phones from Best Buy, Target, or Wal-Mart. The crime itself is not dangerous. But the value of the stolen property turns the crime into a state-jail felony.

A final example is stealing or breaking property and the damage is $2,500.00 or more, but less than $30,000.00. Again, the conduct itself is not that bad. Nobody is hurt. Nevertheless, the person causes lots of property damage to the victim.

Does everyone arrested for a state-jail felony go to prison in Texas?

No. In a majority of cases, people do not go to jail for a state-jail felony unless they break the rules of probation or pre-trial release. In fact, defendants have plenty of options to avoid going to jail.

At the same time, a person may go to jail if he has a bad rap sheet or if police charge him with more than one crime. In these cases, the odds of going to jail go up.

What is the downside of a state-jail felony conviction in Texas?

The biggest drawback is that it may lead to a felony on your record. And aside from going to jail for up to 2 years, it can cause the following problems:

  • You will lose the right to posses a gun.
  • Not able to serve on a jury.
  • Lose your job if the job requires you to have a clean record.
  • Barred from becoming a U.S. Citizen.

These are just a few examples of the negative consequences that flow from a state-jail felony conviction.

What happens if I get an MTR for a state-jail felony?

If a judge issues an arrest warrant because you broke your probation, then you have several options. First, you should consider bonding out of jail. If the judge remands you without bond (RWOB), then your lawyer can ask the judge to set a bond in your case so you can bond out of jail.

After that, the court will give you a hearing to see if you in fact broke the rules of probation. If you did, then the judge has several options. The judge can end your probation and send you to jail. Or the judge can keep you on probation, but it may change the terms of your probation.

In many cases, defense attorneys and prosecutors can work out deals with MTRs. (But be aware that this is not always the case.) Sometimes the prosecutor may agree not to send you to jail, but in return will ask to extend your probation term and have you do more classes or community service hours.

Another type of plea deal is to reduce the crime to a Class A misdemeanor under Tex. Penal Code § 12.44. When this happens, you will get a felony conviction on your record. But you will only serve misdemeanor jail time. That is to say, instead of going to state jail, you do your time in county jail.

And in Bexar County, you can do 2 for 1 or 3 for 1 days in jail. So every day in Bexar County Jail counts as 2 days. If you agree to work while you are in jail, then every one day in jail will count as 3 days in jail.

San Antonio Criminal Defense.

A state-jail felony arrest in Texas is scary because it can lead to jail time and cause you to have a felony on your record. Yet, this type of crime has wiggle room to help you avoid jail time and keep your record clean. For these reasons, it is always a good idea to speak with a qualified defense attorney after a state-jail felony arrest.

Attorney Genaro R. Cortez. Phone: 210-733-7575.

Genaro R. Cortez is a San Antonio Defense Attorney with over 20 years experience helping clients with state-jail crimes. If police arrested you for a state-jail crime, then call today for a free case consult.