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Misdemeanor Crimes: A Basic Overview

Every crime in Texas is categorized by the Penal Code as either a felony or a misdemeanor. And while felony charges are more serious than misdemeanors, there can be substantial consequences for a conviction on a misdemeanor charge. After all, any kind of criminal record can have severe repercussions on a defendant’s personal and professional future. After all, any company worth their salt is going to run a background check on a potential employee. That’s where a misdemeanor crimes lawyer can help you get your life back on track after a misdemeanor conviction.

Types of Criminal Misdemeanors

In Texas cities like Houston, Galveston and League City, misdemeanor charges are not considered as seriously as felony charges but are still punishable with fines and incarceration for up to one year. The Penal Code divides these misdemeanors into Class A, Class B and Class C. Here’s a list of some common misdemeanor crimes in cities in Texas:

Class C Misdemeanors

These are considered the least serious type of criminal offense in Texas cities.  A Class C misdemeanor conviction will carry a punishment of a fine of up to $500.  This can be combined with or replaced by community service, as the judge sees fit. Some examples of these are:

  • Disorderly conduct
  • Public intoxication
  • Bad checks
  • Simple assault
  • Criminal trespass
  • Gambling
  • Bail jumping
  • Leaving a child in a vehicle
  • Petty theft such as shoplifting
  • Possession of alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol by a minor
  • Minor in possession of alcohol
  • Minor in possession of tobacco

Class B Misdemeanors

The Texas Penal Code considers Class B misdemeanors to be more serious than Class C misdemeanors. These carry punishments of a fine of up to $2000, and/or a jail sentence of up to 180 days.  The court may also impose a maximum of two years of community supervision or three years of community supervision with an extension. Some of these crimes include:

  • DWI (Driving while intoxicated) first offense
  • Harassment
  • Prostitution
  • Terroristic threat
  • Criminal trespass
  • Evading arrest on foot
  • False report to a police officer and false 911 calls
  • Child enticement
  • Failure to pay child support
  • Indecent exposure
  • Minor drug possession
  • Vandalism

Class A Misdemeanors

These are the most serious type of misdemeanor offense in Texas, with convictions carrying punishments of a fine of up to $4000 and/or imprisonment of up to one year in a county jail.  The court may also impose a maximum of two years of community supervision, or three years of community supervision with an extension. Some of these include:

  • DWI (second offense)
  • Assault with bodily injury
  • Burglary of a vehicle or vending machine
  • Possession of two to four ounces of marijuana
  • Unlawful carrying of a weapon
  • Gambling promotion
  • Violation of protective orders
  • Cruelty to animals
  • Perjury
  • Public lewdness
  • Resisting arrest

Defending Against Misdemeanor Accusations

Misdemeanors in the state of Texas are serious offenses that can result in a permanent criminal record. If you care about your reputation at all, you need a misdemeanor crimes lawyer. Depending upon the nature of the misdemeanor charge and the defendant’s previous criminal record, it’s possible to have the charges reduced or even dismissed.