Understanding the Texas Three Strikes Law

30 Aug 2023
Greco Neyland, PC

Texas has a tough-on-crime stance. Part of that stance is invoking harsher punishments for repeat felony offenders.

Enter the “Three Strikes Law,” a sentencing law considering prior convictions.

Felony Classes in Texas

There are five types of felonies in Texas.

  1. State jail felonies, the least severe, are punishable by six months to two years.
  2. Third-degree felonies are punishable by two years to 10 years.
  3. Second-degree felonies are punishable by two years to 20 years in prison.
  4. First-degree felonies are punishable by five years to 99 years, or life, in prison.
  5. A capital felony is a death penalty felony.

A felony conviction in any state counts against you, not just a felony conviction in Texas.

What the Three Strikes Law Does

Each time a person is convicted of an additional felony (receiving a second or third strike), the mandatory minimum sentence or the maximum penalty is increased.

The Three Strikes Law does not consider the severity of any second felony, only whether an additional felony was committed. The change in sentencing applies to the new felony you’re being convicted of.

On a second strike:

  • A state jail felony is now punishable by two to ten years in prison.
  • A third-degree felony is now punishable by two to twenty years in prison.
  • A second-degree felony is now punishable by five years to 99 years, or life, in prison.
  • A first-degree felony is now punishable by 15 to 99 years, or life, in prison.

In addition, once you are convicted of your third “strike,” you may be convicted of 25 years to life for a felony of any degree, even if it’s your third state jail felony.

When is the three strikes law applied?

The three strikes law is not applied to every type of felony. Instead, it is applied to select serious or violent felonies:

  • Burglary
  • Robbery
  • Arson
  • Kidnapping
  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Child molestation
  • Use of a weapon while committing a crime
  • Crimes resulting in great bodily harm
  • Crimes involving explosions
  • Indecency with a child
  • Aggravated kidnapping
  • Sexual assault

Get Help Today

The Three Strikes Law offers another reason why working closely with an experienced criminal defense lawyer is so important when you are charged with any crime, especially with a felony. A successful conviction can change the entire course of your future for the worse.

If you or a loved one are in trouble, don’t delay. Call our expert criminal defense team to get help today.

See also:

3 Reasons You Need a Private Criminal Lawyer for Your Houston, TX Case

What Happens Between Arrest and a Houston, TX Criminal Trial

Why Innocent Defendants Need Lawyers in Houston, TX

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