What Is the Line Separating “Honest Mistake” from Misdemeanor Theft?

May 26th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Misdemeanor Crimes

In its simplest form, misdemeanor theft involves taking someone else’s property without their consent. If you took the property by mistake, you can argue that as a defense at trial. But you will still need to prove that mistake was based on a “reasonable belief” you had the right to take the property in the […]

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Can I Be Charged with a Misdemeanor for Filing a False Police Report?

April 22nd, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Misdemeanor Crimes

Lying to the police is not just a bad idea. It can land you in serious legal trouble. Filing a “false report to [a] peace officer” is a Class B misdemeanor offense under the Texas Penal Code. This means that if you “knowingly” make a false statement to an officer–even if you are not technically […]

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Understanding the Right to “Confront” the Evidence Against You in a Misdemeanor Case

March 30th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Misdemeanor Crimes

In a trial involving misdemeanor crimes, the defendant has the same constitutional rights as in felony cases. This includes, among other things, the right to “confront” and cross-examine the witnesses against them in court. But the right of confrontation is subject to certain procedural limits. Houston Appeals Court: Business Records Not “Testimonial” A recent decision […]

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Is Burning Someone on the Leg with a Cigarette Considered “Assault” in Texas?

February 19th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Misdemeanor Crimes

Simple assault is a misdemeanor offense in Texas. Assault is defined as “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another” person. In this context, a “bodily injury” includes any amount of physical pain suffered by the victim. For example, a Dallas appeals court recently upheld an assault conviction that was partly based on evidence […]

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How a Misdemeanor Conviction Can Lead to “Forfeiture” of Your Property to the State of Texas

January 24th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Misdemeanor Crimes

Normally, the maximum penalty for a Class A misdemeanor offense in Texas is one year in jail and a $4,000 fine. But this is only the maximum criminal penalty. Some misdemeanor convictions can also lead to the civil forfeiture of assets that prosecutors believe were proceeds or byproducts of the crime. By law, however, the […]

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What Is the Statute of Limitations for Misdemeanor Crimes in Texas?

December 18th, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Misdemeanor Crimes

In most criminal cases there is a strict time limit that must be followed by prosecutors. This is known as a “statute of limitations.” It is legislation that specifies the maximum length of time that may pass between the commission of an alleged crime and the bringing of formal charges against the defendant. For misdemeanor […]

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Is Burning Your Trash a Misdemeanor Offense in Texas?

November 18th, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Misdemeanor Crimes

As a general rule, you are not supposed to conduct any sort of “outdoor burning” in Texas. There are limited exceptions. For instance, if a local government does not provide trash collection services, residents may burn household trash and rubbish on their own property. But even where this exception may apply, individuals need to be […]

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Austin Man Convicted of Misdemeanor Forgery

October 25th, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Misdemeanor Crimes

Misdemeanor crimes include a variety of non-violent offenses, such as forgery. Indeed, under the Texas Penal Code, forgery is a Class A misdemeanor in most cases. And forgery itself may cover any type of writing, not just items like money or stamps. “Circumstantial Evidence” Allowed Jury to Infer Defendant Forged Signature on Proof of Insurance […]

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What Happens When the Wrong Court Tries a Misdemeanor Offense?

September 20th, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Misdemeanor Crimes

In the Texas judicial system, different courts handle different types of cases. For example, misdemeanor crimes are tried by county courts, while felony cases are handled by district courts. And this is not a technical or superficial distinction. If you are charged solely with misdemeanor offenses, a district court lacks “subject matter jurisdiction” over your […]

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Taking a “Missing” Cell Phone Can Land You in Serious Legal Trouble

August 20th, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Misdemeanor Crimes

“Finders, keepers,” is an old idiom you probably first learned on the schoolyard playground. It is not, however, a valid legal principle. Just because you find property that may be “abandoned” does not give you a legal right to take and use it yourself. To the contrary, you can be charged with the misdemeanor offense […]

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