Everyone knows that misdemeanors are not as serious as felonies, but that does not mean that they should be taken lightly. A misdemeanor conviction in Texas still results in a criminal record, which can have a long-term impact on a person’s future. Additionally, even though a misdemeanor charge is not as serious as a felony charge, a conviction can still result in excessive fines and imprisonment. If you were charged with a misdemeanor in Texas, it would be in your best interests to hire an experienced Dallas criminal defense lawyer. Our attorneys at Udeshi Clark and Associates can help you fight the charges and ensure that your future is not negatively impacted by a criminal conviction. If you want to better understand what constitutes as a misdemeanor in Texas and what consequences you face for violating the law, consider the information in this post.
What is a Texas Misdemeanor?
In Texas, there are three different levels, or “classes,” of misdemeanor that a person can commit, each of which comes with its own sentencing requirements.
- Class A Misdemeanor: Class A misdemeanors are the most severe type of misdemeanor in Texas and a conviction may carry a fine of up to $4,000 and a jail sentence of up to one year.
- Class B Misdemeanor: Class B is a middle-of-the-road misdemeanor and carries a jail sentence of up to 180 days and a fine of no more than $2,000 if convicted.
- Class C Misdemeanor: A Class C misdemeanor conviction does not result in jail time but can come with up to $500 in fines.
Though a conviction may result in jail time, a misdemeanor can never result in prison time. Any jail sentence will be carried out in a county jail or via house arrest. Fines for a misdemeanor will never exceed $4,000.
Texas law allows for special sentencing requirement under certain circumstances. Some special sentencing considerations to think about are:
- Repeat Offenders: If an individual is a repeat Class A misdemeanor offender and is convicted of a second Class A, he or she will be sentenced with a mandatory county jail stay of no less than 90 days. If the person is a repeat Class B offender, he or she will be required to serve a 30-day jail sentence.
- Offenders Motivated by Prejudice: If a person commits a crime that was racially motivated, the judge would be required to sentence him or her to a mandatory minimum 180-day jail sentence.
- Offenders Who Committed a Drug Crime: If an offense involved drugs or another controlled substance, a Class A misdemeanor conviction would come with a minimum 180-day mandatory jail sentence.
What Constitutes as a Misdemeanor in Texas?
Typically, any offense that does not involve bodily injury, major property damage or loss, or acts of violence result in a misdemeanor conviction. Some common examples of misdemeanor offenses in Dallas, Texas, include:
- Petty theft;
- DWI first offenses;
- Public intoxication;
- Simple assault;
- Disorderly conduct;
- Possession of insignificant amounts of a controlled substance; and
- Certain weapons offenses, such as discharging a firearm within city limits without the intention of inflicting harm.
What Steps Should You Take if You Have Been Charged With a Misdemeanor?
Even if you believe that you will receive a Class C misdemeanor conviction, you should take measures to protect your rights and your future. If you have been charged with any sort of crime, whether misdemeanor or felony, you should reach out to a Dallas criminal defense attorney for help fighting the charge. A skilled attorney can help reduce the charges or have them dismissed entirely. Do not leave your future to chance, and reach out to the attorneys at Udeshi Clark and Associates for help fighting your charges today.