Texas criminal law categorizes criminal charges as infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. Although felonies are seen as the more serious crimes, the reality is that a misdemeanor conviction can have a profound effect on your life. Not only can you pay fines and spend time in jail, but you will now have a criminal record. Obtaining employment or a place to live can be more of a challenge, especially when people pull your criminal history while reviewing your application.
Anyone facing misdemeanor charges should contact the Law Office of Tad Nelson & Associates. Our team of Galveston criminal defense attorneys are fully prepared to defend you as your legal representation and investigate your case. Tad Nelson has board certifications in criminal trial law and has handled all sorts of misdemeanor cases through the criminal justice system. Contact our firm today to schedule a free consultation.
Misdemeanor Classification in Texas
Criminal defense lawyers and Texas law classifies misdemeanors in the following manner:
- Class A misdemeanors. These are the most serious and carry maximum penalties of a year in county jail and a $4,000 fine.
- Class B misdemeanor. These are mid-level misdemeanor offenses. Maximum penalties include up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.
- Class C misdemeanors. The least serious offense, they carry a maximum penalty of $500 and no time in jail.
However, if you have a previous misdemeanor conviction, then you can face mandatory time in jail. For example, under Section 12.43 of the Penal Code, someone convicted of a Class B misdemeanor must serve at least 30 days in jail if they have a prior conviction for a felony or a Class A or B misdemeanor. A Good criminal defense attorney will help you defend your rights and counsel you on the best course of action moving forward. Our Galveston criminal defense lawyer is waiting for your call! Schedule your free consultation with one of the best attorneys in Texas who as helped resolve many criminal defense cases!
A Closer Look at Some Misdemeanor Crimes
Many crimes in Texas are both misdemeanors and felonies. The charges you face will turn on certain factors.
Theft is a crime that can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. The classification depends on the amount of money you allegedly stole. For example, it is a Class C misdemeanor if you allegedly stole less than $100. But it’s a Class B misdemeanor to steal between $100 and $750 and a Class A misdemeanor to steal between $750 and $2,500. Any property over this amount can result in felony charges. You will definitely need a trial lawyer at that point.
Many drug crimes are felonies. However, you can face Class B misdemeanor charges for possession of less than two ounces of marijuana. That could net you up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. Many people wrongly believe that Texas has decriminalized marijuana—but it remains a crime.
Possessing certain controlled substances without a valid prescription is also a crime. For example, you might have drugs with traces of codeine in them. Illegal possession is a Class B misdemeanor.
It is very easy for people to get caught with small amounts of drugs. You shouldn’t spend months in jail for what is a simple mistake. Legal professionals can help with that.
A first-offense DWI charge is a Class B misdemeanor. But you can face enhanced charges, depending on the circumstances.
For example, if your blood alcohol concentration is .15 or higher, then you face a Class A misdemeanor charge. Your charges can get bumped up to a felony if you have previous convictions or you are caught with a child in the car who is under 15.
This is a crime that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on such factors as who you assaulted and whether they sustained injuries.
If all you did was threaten an offensive contact, then you will probably face Class C misdemeanor charges. However, you could face Class A charges if you end up causing bodily harm to the victim.
Felony charges are also a possibility where you cause serious injuries or you assault a public servant who is working.
Why You Should Choose Tad Nelson to Defend You
The Galveston criminal defense attorney you hire makes a big difference in the outcome of your case. If you hire someone inexperienced, you could end up spending more time in jail than necessary. You might even accept an unfavorable plea deal when a more seasoned advocate could have obtained something more favorable.
By hiring a board-certified criminal defense lawyer, you can ensure you have the most effective defense strategy possible. Not every case is winnable, but you set yourself up the best outcome with our team diligently working on your behalf.
Our law firm offers many benefits, including:
- Specialized knowledge of criminal law. Texas misdemeanor law changes regularly. Some crimes are reclassified, while new crimes are added almost every year. Tad Nelson and his team stays on top of changes in the law and uses this knowledge to your advantage.
- Insight into prosecutorial strategy. Before representing defendants, Tad Nelson was a Texas prosecutor. He knows how prosecution approaches evidence and how they try to paper over holes in their cases.
- Experienced negotiation. It is sometimes possible to receive a favorable plea deal or even immunity in exchange for offering testimony against co-defendants.
- Detailed approach to investigation. Our team doesn’t just lay back and wait for the police to hand over evidence. We also know how to investigate a case ourselves, and we can find evidence the police have overlooked.
- Full-service representation. We can begin representing you during the grand jury stage all the way to an appeal. Because we stay with a case from start to finish, you benefit from our efficient representation.
To learn more, contact us to schedule a no-risk consultation. We can describe our services in greater depth and analyze what you can expect when facing misdemeanor charges.
FAQs on Galveston Misdemeanors
Is a misdemeanor really that big of a deal?
Yes. Although you would face stiffer penalties with a felony charge, you might still end up behind bars if convicted of a Class A or B misdemeanor. Further, any criminal history can have negative downstream effects. You might lose out on job opportunities if the employer pulls your criminal history. Any conviction also comes into play in family law cases, including divorce or child custody fights. Why not fight this charge?
Can I get a public defender for my misdemeanor case?
Not everyone charged with a crime can qualify for a public defender. For example, you might have too much money to qualify for indigent defense services. But there are many reasons to hire your own attorney if possible. Our law firm doesn’t take on too many clients, so we can dedicate ourselves to your case. Public defenders are often juggling hundreds of cases and can rarely commit the time or resources to their clients the way we can.
Do you work on a contingency fee basis?
Contingency fee arrangements are prohibited in Texas for criminal cases. We can discuss our fee options in a consultation.
Will I be sentenced to jail if convicted?
It is unlikely if this is your first criminal offense. However, the odds go up depending on your record and the details of the crime.
Can’t I just expunge my criminal record?
It depends. Expungement isn’t an option for adults convicted of a crime, even a misdemeanor. If your charges were dismissed or the judge acquitted you, then you might expunge an arrest. However, you might qualify for an Order of Non-Disclosure. This order essentially seals your records so that no member of the public could find out about your arrest/conviction. There is a waiting period, and some crimes are ineligible for an order of non-disclosure. Discuss this option with Tad Nelson.
Should I plead guilty to my charges?
It sometimes makes sense to plead guilty. If the case against you is airtight and the prosecutor offers a favorable plea, then accepting it might be in your best interest. But no defendant should immediately plead guilty. Meet with a Galveston criminal defense attorney first. We can review all your options and help you decide the best path forward.
Can I be forced to testify in a misdemeanor trial?
No. Your privilege against self-incrimination applies to all criminal cases, including misdemeanor offenses. You can always “plead the Fifth” if you believe it is in your best interests.
What is deferred adjudication?
Deferred adjudication allows you to avoid having a conviction on your record. You will essentially serve a period of probation, which for misdemeanors is a maximum of two years. After successful completion of probation, the judge dismisses your charges. You still have an arrest record, but you can usually get that sealed.
How do you defend against misdemeanor charges?
It depends on the case. You can’t be convicted unless the prosecution has proof beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty. Often, we try to undermine the credibility of state’s witnesses. We might also challenge your arrest or any search of your property as unconstitutional. And in other cases, we have proof that someone else committed the crime, not you.
Speak with Our Criminal Defense Lawyers Today
A misdemeanor conviction can have a lasting effect on your future, so you owe it to yourself to hire the best lawyer to defend you. At Tad Nelson and Associates, you will never be just a number. We handle all cases with the utmost confidentiality and will do everything possible to get charges dismissed. No mater what your criminal defense needs may be, call today for a confidential consultation!
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