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What Is a Class C Misdemeanor in Texas?

The Texas Penal Code divides crimes into felonies and misdemeanors. Misdemeanor offenses are further subdivided into three classes: A, B, and C. Class C represent the lowest of the three misdemeanor classes. In other words, these are the least serious crimes you can be charged with under Texas law. Some of the more common examples of Class C misdemeanors include traffic tickets, public intoxication, shoplifting, jumping bail, disorderly conduct, and possession of alcohol by a minor.

The Penalties for a Class C Misdemeanor

If you are charged with a Class C misdemeanor, the first thing you should know is that there is no risk of jail time upon conviction. The Penal Code states the maximum penalty for conviction of a Class C misdemeanor is a $500 fine. However, a police officer can arrest you on a Class C misdemeanor charge, which means you might spend some time in jail before making bail.

The Penal Code also makes it clear that there is no “legal disability or disadvantage” imposed for a Class C misdemeanor conviction. This basically means that you will not face the loss of many basic civil rights, such as the ability to vote in elections, based solely on a Class C conviction. That said, you will still have a criminal record. This means that, for instance, if a prospective employer conducts a criminal background check they could learn of your conviction and cite that as a reason not to hire you. Certain drug-related convictions, even if they are just a Class C misdemeanor, can also affect your ability to obtain federal student financial aid.

It is also worth pointing out that while a traffic ticket is usually considered a Class C misdemeanor, an extended history of such tickets can lead the Department of Public Safety to suspend your driver’s license.

Can I Get Probation for a Class C Misdemeanor?

Since there is no possible jail time attached to a Class C misdemeanor conviction, there is typically no probation–or “community supervision,” as it is called in Texas–available in such cases. An exception to this rule is when the district attorney and the court agree to a “deferred adjudication.” This basically means the defendant agrees to serve a term of probation, in exchange for which their charge can be dismissed outright. So by electing to follow probation, a person charged with a Class C misdemeanor could get the charge cleared from their record.

Protect Your Rights

As with any such plea bargain, however, it is important to speak with a qualified Galveston misdemeanor crimes defense attorney before accepting an offer. Indeed, it is always a good idea to work with an attorney anytime you are facing a criminal charge, even a relatively minor one like a Class C misdemeanor. You do not want to inadvertently make a decision that could have unforeseen consequences for you later. So if you need advice or representation, contact the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates today to schedule a consultation.