In Texas, when a person is charged with a crime, it will be considered a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanors do not typically involve serious violence or high levels of property loss. Even though they are considered less serious crimes, the charges should be taken very seriously. If you are convicted, this means a criminal record. A criminal record can have long-term impacts on a person’s ability to seek employment, or pursue their own goals. Even more so, a person can still potentially face imprisonment upon conviction. That is why it is important to contact an Arlington Misdemeanor Attorney if you have been accused of committing any type of misdemeanor offense.
3 Types of Misdemeanors
Class C – a maximum $500 fine
A Class C misdemeanor is the least serious of all misdemeanors. There’s never any jail time associated with a Class C and the maximum fine is $500. However, an officer may arrest you for most Class C offenses – other than speeding, testing while driving and an open container violation. If an officer does arrest solely on the basis of these offenses it is considered misconduct. Any misdemeanor that is not designated as Class A, B, or C and has no specified punishment is a Class C misdemeanor.
Although the severity of the punishment is not as high, it is still very important to hire a criminal defense attorney. If you decide to just pay the fine for a Class C citation, that will result in a conviction on your record. When receiving a citation such as assault by contact or public intoxication, you want it resolved in a manner that allows for an expunction.
Class B – up to 180 days in county jail and a maximum $2,000 fine
A Class B misdemeanor is lesser than a felony but does not make these offenses trivial. They can carry steep fines and jail time. Under Texas’s laws, a Class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to 180 days in jail, a fine of as much as $2,000, or both. These penalties can be increased if the offense is enhanced. If the defendant has a prior conviction, this can mean a 30-day mandatory minimum jail sentence.
Collateral consequences of a Class B misdemeanor conviction may include:
- Difficulties finding a job
- Becoming ineligible for certain forms of financial assistance
- Struggling to find an apartment with a prior offense
- Prohibited from having a License to Carry for a period of five years.
- Affect your ability to retain custody of your children
- Make you ineligible to vote or sit on a jury
Probation and deferred adjudication may be options for individuals charged with a Class B misdemeanor. There are charges such as Driving While Intoxicated where deferred adjudication is not available. There are also cases where a dismissal of the charges can be negotiated. Hiring an attorney will give you the opportunity to explore these options.
Class A – up to a year in the county jail and a maximum $4,000 fine
Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine up to $4,000, or both jail time and a fine. They are less severe than a felony but more serious than a Class B or Class C misdemeanor. In some cases, a Class A can be enhanced into a felony. This increases the penalties even further. If enhanced based on a prior Class A or greater conviction, the charges will be punishable by confinement from 90 days up to one year in jail, no matter how old the prior adult offense.
Collateral Consequences of a Class A misdemeanor conviction may include: