If you are facing a Texas misdemeanor charge, it is important to remember that the consequences of a conviction can be serious, including jail time, hefty fines, and significant social consequences. Do not let the fact that the charge you face is a misdemeanor dissuade you from consulting with an experienced Florence criminal defense lawyer – the effects of a conviction are simply too great to ignore.
In Texas, misdemeanors refer to offenses that carry sentences of up to 12 months in jail and fines of up to $4,000. Common misdemeanor charges in the State of Texas include:
Driving on a suspended or revoked license
These charges are often the result of either an arrest warrant or a summons.
At the District Court
Those facing misdemeanor charges go first to the District Court. If you were arrested on a warrant, you would be notified when you need to appear before the court for your initial appearance. If you received a summons, the date and time of your appearance at the county courthouse would be included therein. This initial appearance is known as your arraignment.
At your arraignment, the judge will recite the charges you face and will ask how you plea – to which your response will presumably be not guilty. The judge will also advise you of your right to have an attorney, which is the constitutional right of anyone who faces a criminal charge that carries the possibility of jail time. If the charge you face is a Class C misdemeanor, there is no possibility of a jail sentence, so there is no corresponding right to legal counsel. Ultimately, it is in your best interest to have a dedicated criminal defense lawyer in your corner from the outset.
The Setting of Bond
If your arrest was based on a warrant, the judge would likely set bail in your case – to be determined in relation to all of the following factors:
Any prior criminal record
The nature of the offense at hand
How strong your ties to the community are (do you have a family, a job, and/or a home in the area, for instance)
How great the risk is that you will not show up for the trial
Whether you are determined to be a threat to yourself or others
While you are on bond, you may be required to submit to drug testing, and if you fail – even if the drug in question is marijuana or a prescription opioid – you will likely face having your bond revoked.