Third-degree felonies include many types of crimes and depend on the state, circumstances of the crime and the offender’s criminal history. Third-degree felonies are less serious than that of first- and second-degree felonies, but are punishable by prison. Felonies differ from misdemeanors in their seriousness. Misdemeanors are less serious and result in a jail sentence of one year or less.
A first-degree felony is the most serious type of crime and requires a mandatory prison term. Offenders charged with this felony may receive capital punishment. First-degree felonies are charged to offenders who have actually committed a serious crime such as murder or rape. Second-degree felonies are charged to criminals at the scene of a crime who aided or abetted with a crime committed and often receive prison time. Crimes considered misdemeanors are less serious and never receive prison time as a sentence. Third-degree felonies are charges made to criminals that were accessories before a crime. They either aided or abetted the offender committing the crime before the crime took place. A fourth-degree felony is charged to people who were accessories to crimes after the crimes took place.
In general, felony crimes include murder, rape, aggravated assault, arson, burglary, grand theft, treason, espionage, kidnapping, fraud and embezzlement. Examples of third-degree felonies include elder abuse, assault and battery, drug possession, driving under the influence, child molestation, arson, transmission of pornography, embezzlement, theft and fraud.
Once a crime is charged against a person, a punishment is determined by the judicial system. The punishment for a third-degree felony depends on the location and on many other factors. For example, in Pennsylvania a third-degree felony is punishable by up to seven year in a state prison. In Florida, the maximum sentence is five years. In Texas, a person charged with a third-degree felony receives two to 10 years in prison.
The punishment received by a criminal varies by state requirements and the person's criminal history. For example, in Texas, the third offense for a DUI results in a third-degree felony. Another example is when a criminal violates a protective order three times. The person is charged with a third-degree felony. When someone with a clean record commits a crime, the court typically does not punish him as harshly as it would if the person has a lengthy criminal record.