Because misdemeanor crimes are classified as less serious than felonies, you can make the mistake of not taking the charge seriously. You may think you can save yourself the cost of a good defense attorney by representing yourself in court. This is not wise and rarely effective. The judge will expect you to understand the law as well as a trained legal professional and will not cut you any slack.
A conviction for a misdemeanor offense can carry stiff penalties, including jail time, expensive fines and a conviction on your criminal record, all of which can prevent you from obtaining employment, admission into college or even from renting an apartment.
Austin Misdemeanor Lawyer
If you have been charged with a misdemeanor in Austin or elsewhere in Travis County or Williamson County, it is vital that you have capable legal representation. I strongly recommend that you contact me as an Austin misdemeanor lawyer who will work vigorously to protect your legal rights, advance your best interests, and work to keep you out of jail.
As an aggressive and skilled Austin criminal defense lawyer, I will help protect your rights and guide you through the misdemeanor process from the start to finish. I will work hard to help get a positive resolution to your case, including seeking an expunction if eligible.
What is a Misdemeanor?
All crimes in Texas are classified as either misdemeanors or felonies. A misdemeanor is defined as any criminal offense generally deemed less serious than a felony and punishable by a fine and jail time not exceeding one year. In Texas, misdemeanor charges are broken into three classes, A, B, and C, classed according to the seriousness of the offense. The most serious misdemeanor is a Class A misdemeanor, which can carry up to a year in county jail and a $4,000 fine.
Common Examples of Texas Misdemeanors
The statute of limitations for misdemeanor charges in Texas is two (2) years. Additionally, the statutes of limitations begin when the crime is committed (See Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Art. § 12.02). Below are some different types of misdemeanor charges:
- Assault Causing Bodily Injury – According to Texas Penal Code § 22.01, assault is when a person knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly, causes bodily injury to another. Also, bodily injury is defined as physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition (See Texas Penal Code § 1.07(8)).
- Assault Causing Bodily Injury to a Family Member or Assault Family Violence – Domestic assault charges are taken very seriously in Texas. A simple accusation can have life changing consequences. Under Texas Penal Code § 22.01, a person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another person, threatening someone with immediately bodily harm or causing physical contact that the victim believes it to be offensive. Furthermore, if the person who was assaulted is a family or household member to the defendant then the offense constitutes as family violence.
- Criminal Mischief – The penalties for the offense depend on multiple factors such as the value of the property damages or destroyed, the circumstances surrounding the offense, and much more.
- Deadly Conduct / Disorderly Conduct – Under Texas Penal Code § 42.01, there are different conducts that can be classified as disorderly conduct.
- Driving with an Invalid or Suspended License – Driving with an invalid or suspended license is classified as a Class B misdemeanor. Texas Transportation Code § 521.457 states the elements necessary for a person to commit this offense.
- Failure to Identify to a Police Officer – Texas Penal Code § 38.02 indicates the instances when an individual commits this offense.
- Failure to Stop and Render Aid – It is unlawful to leave the scene of a crash involving another motor vehicle (See Texas Transportation Code § 550.022).
- Indecent Exposure – Under Texas Penal Code § 21.08, a person commits the offense of indecent exposure when the defendant exposes their anus or any parts of their genitals with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of another without any regards to who is present and will be offended or alarmed by this action.
- Misdemeanor DWI – To be charged with a misdemeanor DWI the defendant was operating a motor vehicle on a public road while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.
- Misdemeanor of Theft/Property Crime – The offense can be charged as a misdemeanor depending on how it was stolen, and the value of the item or items stolen.
- Possession of Drug Paraphernalia – To be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia the person knowingly and intentionally possesses an item with the intent to be used for the purpose of planting, cultivating, manufacturing, producing, testing, packaging, processing, sorting, or concealing a controlled substance (See Texas Health and Safety Code § 481.002(17)).
- Theft by Check – The offense is committed when a person takes another’s property by issuing or passing a check knowingly or should have known that there weren’t any sufficient funds in the account (See Texas Penal Code § 31.06).
- Theft of Service – The penalties for the offense depends on various factors such as if the defendant has a prior theft conviction. Texas Penal Code § 31.04 states the elements necessary to commit the offense. Overall, theft of service is when a person intentionally or knowingly unlawfully appropriates another person’s services (labor, accommodations, etc.) without their consent or intention through deception, threats, or false token.
Below is a list of common examples of misdemeanor charges in Texas:
- Burglary of a Coin-Operated Machine
- Burglary of a Vehicle
- Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol by a Minor (DUI)
- Evading Arrest
- Failure to Stop and Give Information
- Interference with an Emergency Phone Call
- Minor in Consumption of Alcohol (MIC)
- Minor in Possession of Alcohol (MIP)
- Possession of a Controlled Substance (POCS)
- Possession of a Dangerous Drug
- Possession of Marijuana
- Public Intoxication (PI)
- Public Lewdness
- Resisting Arrest
- Silent or Abusive Phone Calls to a 911 Service
- Terroristic Threat
- Unlawful Possession of a Weapon
- Violation of a Protective Order
Misdemeanor Penalties in Texas
Common penalties for misdemeanor convictions in Texas include probation, jail time, fines, community service, counseling and/or treatment, and a conviction on your permanent record.
Class A Misdemeanor: Conviction of a Class A misdemeanor carries a punishment range of up to one (1) year in the county jail, as well as a fine of up to $4,000.
Class B Misdemeanor: Conviction of a Class B misdemeanor carries a punishment range of up to 180 days in county jail, as well as a fine of up to $2,000.
Class C Misdemeanor: Conviction of a Class C misdemeanor carries penalties of up to a $500 fine.
Enhancements: Prosecutors can sometimes enhance your misdemeanor charge to a more serious misdemeanor or felony charge depending on the crime and your prior criminal record.
Misdemeanor Defense Lawyer Serving Austin, TX
Travis County Prosecutors will aggressively pursue convictions for their own personal record, which makes legal assistance essential to reducing your risk of jail time, expensive fines and a permanent criminal conviction. This is why Attorney Kevin Bennett is intent on providing high quality legal services to those facing criminal charges.
If you are facing a misdemeanor, do not underestimate the direct and indirect consequences it can have on your life. Having an experienced and highly qualified criminal defense attorney by your side can help make sure that your best interest is priority. Experienced criminal defense attorney Kevin Bennett makes sure to prioritize his clients’ interest and informs his clients throughout the entire process. When retaining a defense attorney, it is vital that you acquire someone who will be with you in every step. Whether you’ve been charged with drugs, assault, DWI or another type of misdemeanor in Austin, Tx, you can be confident that Kevin Bennett is prepared to fight on your behalf.
The Law Office of Kevin Bennett represents clients facing misdemeanor charges in Travis County, including those arrested in Austin, Lakeway, Rollingwood, West Lake Hills and Sunset Valley. Call The Law Office of Kevin Bennett at (512) 476-4626 to schedule a free confidential consultation to discuss your case.