It is understood that a felony charge is extremely serious, but many people fail to recognize the significance of a charge of misdemeanor. Depending on the exact charges and the attendant circumstances, however, a misdemeanor charge can have serious consequences. Better acquainting yourself with misdemeanor charges will provide you with a more comprehensive understanding of exactly what is at stake when you face such charges.
The Various Classes of Misdemeanors
There are three basic classifications of Texas misdemeanors:
- Class C Misdemeanors – Class C misdemeanors are the least serious category of misdemeanor charges, and they encompass offenses that can be ticketed and levied with a maximum fine of $500. Common examples include charges of traffic violations, possession of drug paraphernalia, theft of property that is worth less than $50, and disorderly conduct.
- Class B Misdemeanors – Class B misdemeanors can lead to arrest (with accusation). The maximum penalty for conviction of a Class B misdemeanor is up to 180 days in jail and up to a $2,000 fine. Common examples include possession of up to two ounces of marijuana, a first-offense DWI, and criminal trespass or criminal mischief charges.
- Class A Misdemeanors – Class A misdemeanor charges are levied only against the most serious misdemeanor offenses. A Class A misdemeanor conviction is punishable with up to one year in jail and with up to a $4,000 fine. Common examples include charges of assault that caused bodily injury, resisting or evading arrest, assault of a family member, and third-offense DWI.
A Class C misdemeanor is unlikely to garner many legal consequences beyond a fine, but Class B and Class A convictions can lead to consequences that exceed the parameters outlined.
Misdemeanors and Your Rights
The fact is that a misdemeanor conviction can seriously affect your rights, and such consequences need to be taken into careful consideration:
- Driving Rights – Your right to drive is not constitutionally mandated – it is more like a privilege that is granted by the state. In fact, the State of Texas can suspend your driver’s license for a variety of misdemeanor convictions that fall into three primary categories, including drug crimes, DWI, and excess traffic violations. Further, driving on a suspended license – alone – will earn you a minimum of a Class C misdemeanor charge.
- Right to Visitation – If the judge determines that your misdemeanor conviction is relevant to your children’s ongoing well-being, it could negatively affect your visitation rights. For example, charges brought regarding assault, DWI, public intoxication, or solicitation could affect the judge’s decision.
If you are facing misdemeanor charges, you should take the potential consequences extremely seriously.
Facing Texas Misdemeanor Charges? Consult with an Experienced Killeen Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
If you are facing misdemeanor charges, it is not something that you should take lightly. In fact, the consequences of a conviction are extremely serious and can impact your life in surprisingly negative ways. Criminal defense attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen is committed to aggressively advocating for your rights and your case's most positive outcome. We are here to help, so please contact or call us at (254) 220-4225 for more information today.