San Antonio Misdemeanor Attorney
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Criminal offenses in Texas are categorized as a felony or a misdemeanor. There are five different degrees of felony offenses and three classes of misdemeanors. A misdemeanor is charged for less serious offenses.
These offenses are punishable by up to one year in jail and up to $4,000. If the offense requires greater penalties it will most likely be charged as a felony.
Despite what many choose to believe, misdemeanor offenses can still remain on your criminal record, which can have negative repercussions when it comes to finding employment. If you are facing any type of misdemeanor charges in Texas, team up with a San Antonio misdemeanor defense lawyer right away.
Discuss the details of your case in a free case evaluation. To start the conversation, fill out our online form today!
What Is A Misdemeanor?
A misdemeanor is a category of criminal offense that is less serious than a felony but more serious than an infraction (a minor offense, often punishable by fines). Misdemeanors typically involve unlawful conduct that is considered to be of a lower level of severity in comparison to more serious crimes.
Here are some key characteristics of misdemeanors:
Misdemeanor convictions can result in various penalties, including fines, probation, community service, restitution, and in some cases, short-term incarceration in a local jail rather than a state or federal prison. The specific penalties can vary depending on the jurisdiction and the nature of the misdemeanor.
Misdemeanor convictions can lead to a criminal record, which can have consequences for employment, housing, and other aspects of an individual's life. However, the impact is generally less severe than that of a felony conviction.
Types of Misdemeanors
Misdemeanors encompass a wide range of offenses, including but not limited to:
- Petty Theft: Shoplifting or stealing items of relatively low value.
- Simple Assault: Involves minor physical altercations without serious injury.
- Disorderly Conduct: Behaviors that disturb the peace or public order.
- Trespassing: Unauthorized entry onto someone else's property.
- DUI (Driving Under the Influence): Operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs (often considered a "traffic misdemeanor").
- Vandalism: Willful damage to property.
- Prostitution: Engaging in sex work in jurisdictions where it is illegal.
- Possession of Small Amounts of Controlled Substances: In some places, the possession of small quantities of drugs may be classified as a misdemeanor rather than a felony.
Statute of Limitations
Misdemeanor cases are subject to a statute of limitations, which is the time limit within which legal proceedings must be initiated. Once this time period expires, it may not be possible to prosecute the misdemeanor.
It's important to note that the classification of a crime as a misdemeanor or felony can vary by jurisdiction, and the specific penalties and definitions of misdemeanors can differ from one place to another. Additionally, some crimes can be charged as either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the circumstances and the defendant's prior criminal history.
If you are facing misdemeanor charges, it's crucial to consult with an attorney who specializes in criminal defense to understand the specific laws and potential consequences in your jurisdiction and to receive guidance on how to proceed with your case.
What are the Penalties for a Class C Misdemeanor in Texas?
The least serious misdemeanor offense is a Class C misdemeanor. The penalties for a Class C misdemeanor include:
- A fine of up to $500
- Potential community service
This type of offense does not involve jail time or the average probation order. There is the possibility of a special deferred adjudication type of probation; however, and this may result in no conviction. These misdemeanors can commonly be expunged upon resolution of the case.
What are the different Penalties for a Class B Misdemeanor in Texas?
Class B misdemeanors are more serious offenses and have harsher penalties. If you have been charged with a Class B misdemeanor, you may face:
- Up to 180 days in jail
- A fine of up to $2,000
- Potential community supervision for 2-3 years
There is a possibility that the defendant can receive probation rather than jail time and you may be able to have the offense sealed once you complete your probation. Some examples of Class B misdemeanor offenses include:
- First-offense DWI
- Indecent exposure
- Failure to pay child support
- Minor drug possession
- False report to a police officer
What are the Penalties for a Class A Misdemeanor in Texas?
Class A misdemeanors are considered the most serious of all misdemeanors. This type of misdemeanor offense is punishable by:
- A county jail sentence of up to one year
- A fine of up to $4,000
- Potential two years of community supervision or possibly three years with an extension
There is a chance that you can receive a probation order rather than a jail sentence for this type of misdemeanor. Also, you could have your offense be sealed once you complete probation. Examples include:
- Second offense DWI
- Unlawful restraint
- Unlawful carrying of a weapon
- Assault with injury
- Vehicle burglary
- Public lewdness
- Bail jumping
These are the offenses if this is the first offense misdemeanor. You cannot continue to repeat the same misdemeanor and obtain the same penalties each time. If you commit one of these offenses a second or third time, the consequences may be elevated and even charged as a felony for the repeated offense.
Which Traffic Violations are Misdemeanors?
Traffic offenses are generally Class C misdemeanors, other common offenses that fit this category include:
- Simple assault (assault by threat)
- Petty theft
- Minor in possession of alcohol or tobacco
- Public intoxication
- Criminal trespassing
- DUI of alcohol by a minor
- Leaving a child inside a vehicle
Our Texas Misdemeanor Lawyers are Ready to Defend You
The penalties of these offenses are still harsh and can have life-changing effects even though they are considered less serious. Fight to maintain a clean record, free from misdemeanor charges, by seeking experienced representation from a defense lawyer. Contact The Law Office of John J. Fox to speak with a lawyer who has nearly 20 years of experience defending clients in Texas.
San Antonio misdemeanorattorney John Fox offers a free case evaluation so call us at (210) 460-1221 today and see how our firm can help you!