What is a Misdemeanor in Texas? Misdemeanor Punishment Ranges

Oct 8, 2018 @ 9:10 PM

Class A Misdemeanor

A Class A misdemeanor in Texas is an offense that is punishable by up to one year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine.

Class A Misdemeanor

Enhanced Class A Misdemeanor

A Class A misdemeanor can be enhanced based on a prior Class A or greater conviction, which makes the charge punishable by confinement from 90 days up to one year in jail. It does not matter how old a prior adult offense is, it can still be used for enhancement.

Common Class A Misdemeanors

Common Class A Misdemeanors in Texas include:

Assault Causing Bodily Injury
Assault Causing Bodily Injury – Family Member
Driving While Intoxicated Misdemeanor Repetition
Driving While Intoxicated BAC >/= .15
Evading Arrest
Theft 750-2500
Resisting Arrest

Probation for a Class A Misdemeanor

Probation and deferred adjudication may be options for individuals charged with a Class A misdemeanor. A person charged with a Class A misdemeanor can be placed on probation or deferred for an initial term of up to two years.

Deferred adjudication is not available for certain Class A misdemeanors, such as Driving While Intoxicated – Misdemeanor Repetition and DWI BAC >/= .15.

There are occasionally diversion programs available for individuals charged with Class A misdemeanors. Additionally, there are some cases where we can negotiate a dismissal of the charges, and there are certainly cases where we’ve gone to trial to secure acquittals for our clients.

Collateral Consequence of a Class A Conviction in Texas

If you are convicted of a Class A misdemeanor in Texas, you will be prohibited from having a License to Carry for a period of five years.

* Future misdemeanor charges will be enhanced.
* You may lose your ability to own or transport weapons or ammunition.
* A conviction may make you ineligible to hold certain professional licenses.
* Your current employment may be jeopardized.
* You may lose future job opportunities.
* You may become ineligible for state or local assistance.

Penal Code Section 12.21

CLASS A MISDEMEANOR

An individual adjudged guilty of a Class A misdemeanor shall be punished by:

(1) a fine not to exceed $4,000;

(2) confinement in jail for a term not to exceed one year; or

(3) both such fine and confinement.

What is a Class B Misdemeanor in Texas?

A Class B misdemeanor in Texas is an offense that is punishable by up to six months in jail. An enhanced Class B misdemeanor based on a prior Class B or higher conviction is punishable by confinement from 30 days up to 180 days in jail.

Misdemeanor Punishment Ranges in Texas

MisdemeanorFineJail Time
Class C$0-500-
Class B$0-2,0000-180 days
Class B Enhanced$0-2,00030-180 days
Class A$0-4,0000-1 year
Class A Enhanced$0-4,00090-1 year

misdemeanor fines in Texas

Class B Misdemeanors in Texas

Common Class B misdemeanors include:

Criminal Mischief $100-$750

Criminal Trespass

Driving While Intoxicated 

Driving While Intoxicated-Open Container

Theft $100-$750

Possession of Marijuana under 2 Ounces

Prostitution

Probation for Class B Misdemeanors

Probation and deferred adjudication may be options for individuals charged with a Class B misdemeanor. Deferred adjudication is not available for certain Class B misdemeanors, such as Driving While Intoxicated.

There are occasionally diversion programs available for individuals charged with Class A misdemeanors. Additionally, there are some cases where we can negotiate a dismissal of the charges, and there are certainly cases where we’ve gone to trial to secure acquittals for our clients.

Class B Misdemeanor in Texas

Class B Misdemeanor

Penal Code Section 12.22

An individual adjudged guilty of a Class B misdemeanor shall be punished by:

  1. a fine not to exceed $2,000;
  2. confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days; or
  3. both such fine and confinement.

Enhanced Class B Misdemeanors

A Class B misdemeanor can be enhanced with a prior Class B or higher conviction. An enhanced Class B misdemeanor is punishable by a minimum of 30 days to a maximum of 180 days in county jail.

Statute of Limitations for Class B Misdemeanors

The statute of limitations for a Class B Misdemeanor is two years in Texas. If you believe an offense may be barred by the passage of time, contact one of our attorneys immediately. There are a number of ways the statute of limitations may have been tolled.

Collateral Consequences of a Class B Misdemeanor Conviction in Texas

If you are convicted of a Class B misdemeanor in Texas, you will be prohibited from having a License to Carry for a period of five years. Certain Class B misdemeanors may affect your ability to have custody of your children. Similarly convictions for crimes of moral turpitude – such as theft – may make you ineligible to vote, sit on a jury, and will hinder your ability to get a job. A conviction for a Class B amount of marijuana will result in a driver license suspension of up to one year.

Class C MisdemeanorClass C Misdemeanor

A Class C misdemeanor is the lowest level of criminal offense in Texas. It is punishable by a fine only. The maximum penalty for a Class C misdemeanor is $500. Jail time is not possible as punishment for a Class C misdemeanor in Texas, however, an officer may arrest you for most Class C offenses other than speeding.

Arrests for Class C Misdemeanors in Texas

While that may seem counterintuitive and unfair, the issue made its way all the way up to the United States Supreme Court, and the Court affirmed the right of officers to arrest for most Class C offenses in Texas. See Atwater v. City of Lago Vista, 532 U.S. 318, 319 (2001). You cannot be arrested for a Class C speeding offense, texting while driving, and an open container violation. It is misconduct for an officer to arrest solely on the basis of these offenses.

If you pay a Class C citation, that will result in a conviction on your record. If you have been arrested for a Class C misdemeanor, you may find it worthwhile to hire an attorney to represent you to ensure that the Class C offense such as Assault by Contact or Public Intoxication is resolved in a manner that allows for an expunction. Most jurisdictions will not object to an expunction on a Class C misdemeanor immediately upon dismissal.

What are common Class C misdemeanors in Texas?

Common Class C misdemeanors in Texas include:

Public Intoxication

Assault by Contact

Driving Under the Influence

Do I need an attorney for a Class C ticket in Texas?

While we generally leave Class C matters to “ticket attorneys,” every year we handle a handful of Class C charges in the North Texas area, for individuals who are not concerned about the potential of the $500 fine but are concerned about keeping the matter off their record.

Handled correctly, a criminal defense attorney may be able to get a Class C citation dismissed and ultimately expunged. This entire process may cost $3,500-$5,000 so it is not for everyone. University students, professionals, and individuals who have specific career or licensing goals may find hiring a criminal defense attorney is a worthwhile endeavor.

Misdemeanors in Texas

This is not an exhaustive list.

Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Varghese Summersett PLLC