Texas crimes are divided into two categories: misdemeanors and felonies. Whether you are facing a misdemeanor charge that may result in a fine or a felony charge that may result in a prison sentence, it is important to consult with an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney to make sure your rights are protected.
What is the difference between misdemeanor charges and felony charges?
Felony charges are much more serious than misdemeanor charges. Generally, misdemeanor charges are those that carry shorter jail sentences and lesser fines than felony charges. Felony charges may result in between 6 months to life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
What are some examples of misdemeanor charges in Texas?
Misdemeanor offenses in Texas include:
- A first offense of driving while intoxicated
- Disorderly conduct
- Petty theft charges
- Certain assault charges
- Indecent exposure
- Public lewdness
- Public drunkenness
- Minor in possession of alcohol
- Resisting arrest
- Certain drug possession charges
- Specific weapons offenses
This is not an exhaustive list of all of the misdemeanor offenses in Texas. There are many other misdemeanor offenses.
What are the penalties for misdemeanor charges in Texas?
The penalties for misdemeanor charges vary depending on the specific nature of the crime and the offender’s criminal record.
There are three categories of misdemeanor offenses: class A, class B, and class C.
Class A misdemeanor offenses are the most serious. They carry up to a year in a Texas county jail. In addition, a judge may order a fine of no more than $4,000.
Class B misdemeanors carry up to 180 days in jail, as well as a maximum fine of $2,000.
Class C misdemeanors do not carry any jail time. Instead, they carry a fine of no more than $500.
Other penalties may also apply. For alcohol-related offenses, the offender may be required to enroll in an alcohol education course or install an ignition lock device in his vehicle. If one commits an offense like indecent exposure, the offender may be required to register on the Texas Public Sex Offender Registry. Restitution, probation, and a number of other results may also occur if an individual is convicted of a misdemeanor.
How can an attorney help with misdemeanor charges?
In all criminal cases, the prosecution has the burden of proof. The prosecution must prove each element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt for the charges to stand. If the prosecution cannot prove every element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt, the charges must be reduced or dismissed. To prove that a crime has been committed beyond a reasonable doubt, the prosecution must show that a jury could draw no other conclusion but that the accused committed the crime.
Criminal defense attorneys make sure that the evidence the prosecution submits is valid. If the prosecution attempts to submit improper evidence, criminal defense attorneys make motions to keep this evidence out of the case. In addition, criminal defense attorneys study the facts surrounding the arrest and make sure that the accused’s constitutional rights were not violated. For example, if evidence was obtained in an illegal search, criminal defense attorneys will argue that it should not enter the case. Finally, criminal defense attorneys provide evidence to support any defenses on behalf of the accused.
Do you need legal representation for a misdemeanor charge?
To make sure your legal rights are protected, it is important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. Brian Eppes is a former prosecutor with experience in numerous cases. To schedule your free consultation with the Hampton Eppes Law Group, call 817-877-5201 or visit www.hamptonlegalgroup.com.