Although the term ‘misdemeanor’ is frequently used, many within the state of Texas may not be entirely sure what it means. Ultimately, misdemeanor crimes are much less serious than felony crimes; that being said, they should never be considered insignificant. Being convicted of a misdemeanor can have serious repercussions, especially if you try to ignore the charges and hope they will simply go away.
Texas, like most other states, has developed a sentencing system, or sentencing guidelines based on several factors, including the history of the defendant, the nature of the crime, and other circumstances of the case. The first step is determining what category the offense falls into.
Misdemeanor Crime Categories
Misdemeanors are sorted into different categories, or classes, based on severity. The following discusses each of the classes, starting with the least serious to the most serious.
- Class C Misdemeanors – This is the lowest level of all criminal offenses in Texas. Most traffic tickets, except parking tickets, as well as petty theft of less than $50, disorderly conduct, and public intoxication are all examples of Class C Misdemeanor crimes. These crimes are not punishable with jail time, but offenders may be faced with a fine $500 or less. Offenders still have the right to request a trial.
- Class B Misdemeanors – Class B Misdemeanors are more serious than Class C Misdemeanors, but still not the most serious type of misdemeanor crime. First-time offenders may receive a plea deal by pleading no contest or guilty before trial. This is called a deferred adjudication, and as long as the probation period is successfully completed, the case will be dismissed, leaving the offender without a criminal conviction on his or her record. Examples of Class B Misdemeanors include rioting, indecent exposure, criminal trespassing, and harassment. This class of misdemeanors is punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. Offenders may be assigned to two years of probation as well.
- Class A Misdemeanors – This is the worst class of misdemeanor crimes. Deferred adjudication is an option for this type of criminal case as well. Examples of Class A Misdemeanors include burglary of a motor vehicle, resisting arrest, animal cruelty, and violating a protective order. Class A Misdemeanors are punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000. Offenders may also be sentenced to up to two years of probation.
How a Galveston or League City Misdemeanor Defense Attorney Can Help
It’s easy to see why a person that has been charged with a misdemeanor crime in Texas would want to have representation by an experienced attorney. An experienced criminal defense attorney might be able to have your charges or sentencing reduced, or even dismissed depending on the specific circumstances surrounding the case. The Houston criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates have years of experience handling a variety of misdemeanor criminal cases. You may not think a misdemeanor crime is serious, but the last thing you want to deal with is a large fine or time in jail. Contact us online or call (281) 280-0100 today for a consultation. We will craft the best possible defense strategy and help protect your rights.