Misdemeanors are the less serious of the two classes of criminal offenses. They are broken into three levels. The lowest level is a “class C” misdemeanor and it is commonly thought of as a traffic ticket. While Anderson Legal Group does not generally represent clients with traffic tickets, we frequently have more serious criminal charges reduced.
The second level is a “class B” misdemeanor. It is commonly thought of as a first DWI. The punishment range for this offense is up to six months in jail and/or a fine not to exceed $2,000.00.
The highest level is known as a “class A” misdemeanor. A common offense under this level would be the unlawful carrying of a weapon (UCW) or a second DWI. The punishment range for this offense is up to one year in jail and/or a fine not to exceed $4,000.00.
This cursory overview is only to provide you with a quick reference as to what the maximum sentence is that the law will generally allow for each class of misdemeanor offense. However, there are other circumstances that play a factor for possibly elevating these offenses to a higher category.
Crimes are broken down into two major categories–misdemeanors and felonies. In Texas, the maximum exposure for punishment for a misdemeanor is up to one year in jail and/or a fine of $4,000.00. On the other hand, the maximum punishment for a capital felony is life in prison or death. Please visit the misdemeanor and/or felony crime pages within this website for additional specific information.
“Misdemeanor” means an offense so designated by law or punishable by fine, by confinement in jail, or by both fine and confinement in jail. A misdemeanor is the less serious of Texas’ two criminal designations.
Texas places misdemeanors into the three following categories, in decreasing order of severity:
Class A: most serious misdemeanor
Punishable by a fine of up to $4,000.00 and/or up to imprisonment for up to one year (mandatory minimum of six months’ jail time if a controlled substance is used in the commission of the crime)
Ex: Assault; Second offense DWI; Possession of two to four ounces of marijuana; Perjury
Class B: less serious than Class A, more serious than Class C
Punishable by a fine of up to $2,000.00 and/or imprisonment for up to six months
Ex: First offense DWI; Possession of up to two ounces of marijuana; Indecent exposure; Failure to pay child support
Class C: least serious misdemeanor
Punishable by a fine of up to $500.00. Class C misdemeanors are also known as “fine–only” misdemeanors, as a conviction does not carry the possibility of jail time.
Ex: Speeding ticket; Criminal mischief; Possession of drug paraphernalia; Theft of less than $100.00
(Texas Penal Code Sections 12.03, 12.21-23)
Specific crimes fall into one of these categories, but certain facts can shift the crime into a more or less serious category (for example, the same crime may be a higher degree felony if it was committed against a child, or instead may be a lower degree felony if it was committed unintentionally). A criminal defense attorney may use the presence or absence of certain facts or evidence to argue that the charge should be a lower degree felony or misdemeanor than what was originally charged.
If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, please contact us so that Mr. Anderson might be able to assist you in determining your options.