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What Are the Types of Misdemeanors in Texas?

The Law Firm of Andrea M. Kolski

Many people have a misconception that a charge is “only a misdemeanor” and do not think it will have an impact on their overall ability to work and live. While it is true that there is a difference between felony and misdemeanor charges, receiving a conviction will impact your criminal record.

Reducing a felony to a misdemeanor in a plea is beneficial. Your criminal defense attorney may also be able to reduce your charges to a lower misdemeanor. Read on to learn about the types of misdemeanors in Texas, their classes, and penalties.

Types of Misdemeanors

A misdemeanor is generally a crime in which there is no violence and no major damage to property. Do not underestimate the seriousness of receiving a misdemeanor charge.

Penalties depend on the class of misdemeanor for which you receive a conviction, your prior criminal record, and the particulars of the case before the court. The classes of misdemeanors and their penalties are set forth in the Texas Penal Code § 12.03.

Class C Misdemeanor

Of all classes of misdemeanors in Texas, this is the mildest. There is a wide variety of charges that may result in a misdemeanor ranging from everything from trespassing to betting. In fact, the types of crimes that may result in this level of criminal charges include all of the following:

  • Theft of property with a value under $100
  • Some traffic offenses
  • Writing bad checks
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Pubic intoxication
  • Gambling
  • Jumping Bail
  • Simple assault
  • Shoplifting
  • Leaving a child in an automobile unattended
  • Criminal trespass
  • Open alcohol in a motor vehicle
  • Minor in possession or under the influence of alcohol
  • Minor in possession of tobacco
  • Minor driving under the influence (DUI) or intoxicated (DWI)

The penalty for a Class C Misdemeanor is a maximum fine of $500. There is no jail time for this class, but the judge may sentence you to community service in addition to or in place of a fine.

Class B Misdemeanor

This crime is more severe than those listed above and also carries heavier penalties. You may receive a Class B conviction for the following:

  • Theft of property with a value in excess of $100 but less than $750
  • Possession of more than two (2) ounces of marijuana
  • Making threats of terrorism
  • Driving while intoxicated (DWI) first offense
  • Harassment
  • Criminal trespass
  • Fleeing and alluding on foot
  • False 911 call
  • Filing a false police report
  • Indecent exposure
  • Vandalism
  • Failure to pay child support
  • Child enticement
  • Reckless driving
  • Prostitution

Penalties for a conviction include a maximum jail time of 180 days in county jail and/or a maximum fine of $2,000.

Class A Misdemeanor

This is the most serious level of misdemeanor criminal charges. You may receive a Class A Misdemeanor conviction for the following:

  • Theft of property with a value in excess of $750 but less than $2,500
  • Theft of an automobile
  • Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) second offense
  • Possession of two (2) to four (4) ounces of marijuana
  • Assault resulting in bodily injury
  • Theft from an automobile
  • Theft from a vending machine
  • Promotion of gambling
  • Unlawful carry of a weapon
  • Violating a protection order
  • Perjury
  • Cruelty to animals
  • Resisting arrest
  • Public lewdness
  • Unlawful restraint

If you receive a conviction, penalties include up to one (1) year in the county jail and a maximum fine of $4,000. The judge may also order up to two (2) years of adult probation or three (3) years of community supervision with an extension.

Deferred Adjudication for Texas Misdemeanors

A criminal defense attorney may be able to obtain a plea deal for your charge in which you receive deferred adjudication. This is a sentencing alternative in which you are guilty of the offense, but have the opportunity to prevent a conviction on your record.

In this type of plea agreement sentencing is deferred pending successful completion of your probation period. If the judge gives you the opportunity to receive a deferred adjudication and you complete your probation successfully, plus any additional conditions of the court, you will receive a dismissal of the charges.

To receive deferred adjudication, you enter a plea of either “guilty” or “no contest.” If the charges are for a Class A or Class B misdemeanor, the period of the deferral may be up to two (2) years.

Texas Misdemeanors Repeat Offenders

Some types of misdemeanor charges are charged at a more severe level or as a felony if it is the second (2nd) or third (3rd) time you receive charges for the same crime. One excellent example is DWI charges.

If you receive a DWI first (1st) offense, it will be a Class B misdemeanor charge. If you then receive a second (2nd) DWI charge it will be prosecuted as a Class A misdemeanor. Upon arrest for a third (3rd) DWI offense the charge will be a third (3rd) degree felony.

Texas Criminal Statute of Limitations

Texas has a Statute of Limitations which sets forth the time limit in which a Texas prosecutor must bring forth charges for a crime. Generally, the time frame for misdemeanors is a maximum of two (2) years from the date of the crime, pursuant to the Texas Criminal Procedures Code §§ 12.01, 12.02.

Because of COVID-19, courts have made adjustments to their procedures. In Texas, district courts need authorization from the Office of Court Administration to conduct a jury trial. If you are not considering a plea and planning to take the matter to trial, this will impact the time frame for completion of your case.

Justice and municipal courts do not have permission to conduct a jury trial until after April 21, 2021. Unless a judge has exhausted all reasonable efforts to hold court proceedings remotely, in-person hearings are not allowed. The Open Courts Provision of the Texas Constitution requires all courts to maintain public access.

The only persons authorized through the Office of Court Administration to receive access to Zoom accounts to conduct hearings are judges. The court operations, including what are essential hearings such as emergency and time-sensitive cases with deadlines that cannot be suspended have undergone adjustments to meet both legal and safety standards.

Why You Need a Criminal Defense Attorney

Despite how simple it may look on TV, the criminal justice system is complicated and a misstep in the handling of your case can have severe consequences. Hiring a criminal defense attorney with more than twenty years of experience provides you with the benefit of their legal knowledge. They understand the justice system and are able to negotiate with the prosecution.

If the matter goes to trial, your criminal defense attorney has the expertise and knowledge of the Texas criminal code and court rules. They know the proper format and filing deadlines for witness and exhibit lists, how to subpoena witnesses, cross-examine witnesses, and understand a sentencing report.

Defense for Texas Misdemeanors

With the various types of misdemeanors you may find yourself under prosecution for, it is advisable to always consult with a criminal defense lawyer to learn how you may be able to avoid blemishing your record.

The Law Firm of Andrea M. Kolski will provide you with a free criminal case evaluation. With twenty (20) years of criminal law experience, she will work to secure the best possible outcome on your case. Call (832) 381-3430 or contact us online for our legal opinion on your case.

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The Woodlands, TX 77381

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