Texas Misdemeanor Crimes Lawyer
Texas law categorizes a number of different types of criminal offenses as misdemeanors. While it is true that these kinds of charges generally come with less severe penalties than felony crimes, they should still be taken seriously, as they are punishable by jail time and hefty fines. That being said, however, misdemeanor crimes should never be dismissed as insignificant, or written off as something that doesn’t deserve serious legal attention if a person is charged with a misdemeanor. Being convicted of a misdemeanor crime can have serious legal implications on a person’s life, affecting everything from reputation to being able to secure employment and more.
At the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates, our experienced misdemeanor crime attorneys serving Galveston, League City, and Houston help you to understand the law and build your defense when you have been charged with a misdemeanor. Attorney Tad Nelson is board-certified in criminal trial law, and isn’t intimidated by the prospect of working hard to protect and represent you, even if that means going to court. For legal advice and counsel you can count on, call us today to schedule your free, no obligation case consultation.
What is a Misdemeanor?
A misdemeanor crime is a crime that is less severe than a felony and is under the level of a felony per Texas code. Misdemeanors are classified into three groups: Class A misdemeanors, Class B misdemeanors, and Class C misdemeanors. Of course, each of these offenses could be charged as felony crimes if they are more elevated offenses. Below we’ll discuss some commonly charged misdemeanor offenses in Texas along with some related penalties for each offense.
Common Types of Misdemeanor Offenses
You should take time to learn more about the types of offenses that can result in misdemeanor charges. Theft-related allegations are some of the most commonly charged misdemeanor offenses in Texas. There are also a number of drug crimes that are charged as misdemeanors in Texas. Another type of misdemeanor is driving while intoxicated. This is a Class B misdemeanor in Texas and comes with a mandatory three days in jail, or if an open container of alcohol is discovered in the vehicle, up to six days confinement can be enforced. If you are facing misdemeanor charges, our attorneys are here to represent you.
While there are many different types of misdemeanors under the Texas Penal Code, the following are some examples of commonly charged misdemeanor offenses in Texas.
No matter the misdemeanor crime you have been charged with, we will take the charges seriously and work aggressively to protect your rights.
Depending upon the amount of money that is alleged to have been stolen, or the value of the property, you can face either misdemeanor or felony charges. The classification of your charge will depend on the value or amount of money associated with the theft. When it comes to misdemeanor theft offenses, a Class C misdemeanor theft charge is for money or property valued at less than $50. Class C misdemeanors are punished with a monetary fine of up to $500, and you will have a criminal record. Class B misdemeanor theft charges occur when the money or property value is between $50 and $499 (i.e., less than $500). You will face Class A misdemeanor theft charges if money or property valued between $500 and $1,499 is stolen. Any thefts involving money or property valued at $1,500 or more are felony offenses.
Misdemeanor Drug Charges
Possessing less than two ounces of marijuana is generally charged as a Class B misdemeanor and as such, is punishable by up to six months in jail and a $2,000 fine. Possession of two to four ounces of this substance, on the other hand, is a Class A misdemeanor, which could mean up to a year in jail. The possession of depressants and certain stimulants without a prescription can also results in misdemeanor drug charges. Less than 28 grams of salvia, peyote, and certain hormonal drugs, for instance, is a Class A misdemeanor. Possession of drugs with medicinal properties, but that also contain traces of narcotics like codeine and opium, can also lead to Class B misdemeanor charges.
As mentioned previously, driving while intoxicated is a Class B misdemeanor in Texas and comes with a mandatory three days in jail. If an open container of alcohol is discovered in the vehicle, a penalty of up to six days confinement could be issued. In fact, even appearing in public while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a Class C misdemeanor. Repeat drunk driving offenders, however, can expect to face felony charges, as well as more severe penalties, including the suspension or revocation of their driver’s license.
Driving While Intoxicated
If you are convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas, you will have a Class B misdemeanor conviction on your record if this was your first offense. However, the charges can be increased to a Class A misdemeanor if you had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15 or more at the time of your arrest. In addition to anywhere from 180 days to one year in jail, you can also face a monetary fine of up to $2,000 for a Class B misdemeanor or up to $4,000 for a Class A misdemeanor. If you have a previous DWI conviction on your record, you could be facing felony charges.
Simple assault charges are typically misdemeanor offenses, although a simple assault can be a felony in certain situations. A simple assault that involves a threat of harm or contact is usually a Class C misdemeanor, although it may be a Class A or Class B misdemeanor depending upon the identity of the victim. A simple assault in which another person sustains bodily harm will be charged as a Class A misdemeanor, although it may be a felony offense in some cases.
Penalties for Misdemeanor Crimes in Texas
The severity of the penalties that accompany a criminal conviction in Texas depend largely on whether the offense is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Those convicted of felonies, for instance, can almost always expect to spend significant time in jail, while individuals convicted of misdemeanors could end up with fines and probation, but avoid imprisonment. This does not mean, however, that misdemeanor charges should be taken less seriously, as having any kind of criminal record can have far-reaching consequences, so if you were accused of a crime in Texas, you should speak with an experienced Houston misdemeanor crimes lawyer who can help you build a defense.
While being charged with a misdemeanor won’t lead to a prison sentence of decades, the penalties still may be severe. The specific penalties that you face for a conviction depend on whether you’re convicted of a Class A, B, or C misdemeanor. Here are common penalties of which you should be aware:
- Class A Misdemeanor: Class A misdemeanors in Texas can result in up to a year in county jail and a fine of up to $4,000. Class A misdemeanors are the most serious misdemeanor offense types.
- Class B Misdemeanor: A Class B misdemeanor is less harshly penalized than a Class A, and can result in a fine of up to $2,000 and 180 days in jail.
- Class C Misdemeanor: Finally, Class C misdemeanors are punished by fines of up to $500; you won’t go to jail for a Class C misdemeanor conviction.
Keep in mind that if you are being charged with a repeat offense, drugs were involved in the offense, or the crime was motivated by prejudice, mandatory minimum sentences could be imposed. While misdemeanors are not as serious as felonies in Texas, a misdemeanor conviction will still result in a criminal record and can often lead to a sentence that involves jail time. Indeed, a Class B misdemeanor can result in a sentence that includes up to 180 days in jail, while a Class A misdemeanor can result in a sentence that includes up to one year in jail. Accordingly, you need to begin working with an experienced Texas misdemeanor criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to avoid a conviction.
I Was Charged with a Misdemeanor – What Now?
The Consequences of a Criminal Record
While many people facing misdemeanor criminal charges in Texas are relieved that they could be avoiding jail time, the reality is that having any kind of criminal record can be detrimental to the accused’s personal life and career opportunities. Many of those with criminal convictions on their record, for instance, could face difficulty in finding employment, buying or renting a home, taking advantage of educational opportunities, or joining the military. Many also suffer from damage to their personal and/or business reputations in their communities, making it especially important for those accused of crimes in Texas, to mount a strong defense.
Can My Record Be Washed Clean?
There are options in Texas to have your record expunged. Expungement is simply the act of removing or erasing something completely. While this is an option for some, it may not be for all. Depending on a variety of factors, you may be eligible to have your criminal record expungement. Some of the criteria include having the charges dropped, acquitted or later pardoned and more. Regardless of the charge, it is wise to work with our experienced Texas criminal defense attorney to work on expungement. Tad Nelson will be able to walk you through the process and help you with the expungement application.
How Long Does It Take To Expunge My Record?
The timeline for having your record expunged will also differ depending on what you were charged with. Some charges, unfortunately, may not be approved for expungement regardless of the timeline. This is why it is so important to work with our firm as early in the process as possible. The sooner our experienced attorneys are involved in your case, meaning back to when the accusations and arrest are made, the better the outcome will be. We can build a strong defense to help you battle the charges and accusations brought against you, handle negotiations between you and the other parties involved, and if needed, represent you in court,
How Can a Misdemeanor Crimes Lawyer Help Me?
A misdemeanor crime will still show up on your permanent criminal record, can be costly in terms of court fees and fines, and can disrupt your career, your ability to care for dependents, and your future opportunities. If you are facing misdemeanor charges, you need a misdemeanor crimes lawyer on your side. Your attorney will review the charges against you, help you to understand your options, ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process, negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecution or build your case, and represent your best interests every step of the way.
Contact Our Experienced Texas Misdemeanor Crimes Attorney
If you were accused of committing a misdemeanor offense, whether theft, drug, or alcohol-related, you could be facing significant jail time and expensive fines. Put our criminal defense experience on your side. We can help ensure that you are able to mount the strongest defense possible to the criminal allegations being levied against you. Call one of our dedicated Houston misdemeanor crime lawyers at The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates today for a free consultation at 281-280-0100 or chat us via online message.