Top Misdemeanor Classes in Texas:Class A,Class B,Class C

In this article, we will be looking at misdemeanor classes in Texas and the statutory wrongdoing and Its consequences. In all states and under the federal criminal code, a misdemeanor is a crime that is punishable by incarceration and, sometimes, a fine. A misdemeanor is less serious than a felony but more so than an infraction.

Felonies, misdemeanors, and infractions are classified by states based on their potential penalties.

Most times the maximum punishment possible for a misdemeanor will be a year in a local jail.

There are states that provide misdemeanor penalties as high as two or three years’ incarceration.

If the crime is such that carries a potential prison sentence of over a year, the offense becomes a felony.

Infractions that are sometimes regarded as violations are usually fine-only offenses that have no possibility of incarceration such as traffic tickets.

Before we look at misdemeanor classes in Texas, let us misdemeanor classifications in general.

Misdemeanor Classes in Texas: The Classifications

Many states classify their misdemeanors by grouping the more severe crimes into class A(Level 1), class B(Level 2), and so on.

Some states use other terms for each level, such as “misdemeanor”, “high misdemeanor”, or “gross misdemeanor”.

The purpose of grouping misdemeanors into classes or levels is to assign punishments that fit the level of the offense.

For instance, a state might define a misdemeanor as crimes punishable by up to a year in jail and then further divide misdemeanors into classes or levels.

Here, a class C misdemeanor might max out at 90 days of jail time, a class B misdemeanor, however, goes up to 180 days in jail, and Class A misdemeanors carry the potential for a year in jail.

Some states do not classify their misdemeanors. All they do is assign a punishment right in the statute that describes or defines the crime.

For instance, the statute might provide that a person who commits a simple assault is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $2500 fine, but the person who commits a domestic assault is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $5000 fine.

The common examples of misdemeanor crimes include:

States That Classify Misdemeanors by Class or Level

These states have class B or level 2 misdemeanors. They classify their misdemeanor crimes into classes or levels:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona,
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin

States That Classify Misdemeanors by Unique Terms

In the following states, legislators did not use the terms “class” or “level”, but they did group their misdemeanor crimes by severity.

  • Georgia (misdemeanors and misdemeanors of a high and aggravated nature)
  • Hawaii (petty misdemeanor and misdemeanor)
  • Iowa (aggravated, serious, or simple)
  • Minnesota (gross misdemeanor, misdemeanor, or petty misdemeanor)
  • Nevada (gross misdemeanor or misdemeanor)
  • New Jersey (disorderly person offense or petty disorderly persons offense)
  • New Mexico (petty misdemeanor or misdemeanor)
  • Rhode Island (misdemeanor or petty misdemeanor)
  • Washington (gross misdemeanor or misdemeanor)

Statutory Wrongdoing and Its Consequences

  • Capital felony
  • First degree felony
  • Second-degree felony
  • Third-degree felony
  • State jail felony
  • Class A misdemeanor
  • Class B misdemeanor
  • Class C misdemeanor

Capital felony

  • Maximum Punishment: Execution

  • Examples: Capital murder

  • Court with Original Jurisdiction: District court, with automatic appeal to Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

First degree felony

  • Maximum Punishment: 5-99 years or life; $10,000 fine

  • Examples: Theft of property valued at $200,000 or more; aggravated sexual assault.

  • Court with Original Jurisdiction: District court

Second-degree felony

  • Maximum Punishment: 2-20 years; $10,000 fine

  • Examples: Theft of property valued at $100,000 or more, but less than $200,000; aggravated assault; reckless injury to a child.

  • Court with Original Jurisdiction: District court

Third-degree felony

  • Maximum Punishment: 2-10 years; $10,000 fine

  • Examples: Theft of property valued at $20,000 or more, but less than $100,000; drive-by shooting with no injury.

  • Court with Original Jurisdiction: District court

State jail felony

  • Maximum Punishment: 180 days to 2 years; $10,000 fine

  • Examples: Theft of property valued at $1,500 or more, but less than $20,000; credit card or debit card abuse.

  • Court with Original Jurisdiction: District court

Class A misdemeanor

  • Maximum Punishment: 1 year; $4,000 fine

  • Examples:Burglary; theft of property valued at $500 or more, but less than $1,500; theft of cable service; stalking without bodily injury.

  • Court with Original Jurisdiction: Constitutional county court or county court at law.

Class B misdemeanor

  • Maximum Punishment: 180 days; $2,000 fine

  • Examples: Theft of property valued at $20 or more, but less than $500; driving while intoxicated; possession of up to 4 ounces of marijuana; making terroristic threats.

  • Court with Original Jurisdiction: Constitutional county court or county court at law.

Class C misdemeanor

  • Maximum Punishment: $500 fine

  • Examples: Theft of property valued at less than $20; assault without bodily injury; producing or selling term papers or reports for use by others; attending a dog fightJustice of the Peace Court.

  • Court with Original Jurisdiction: Justice of the Peace Court

Texas Misdemeanor Crimes by Class and Sentences

Texas is one of those states that classify misdemeanors by class. This state divides misdemeanor offenses into three classes:

Class A, B, and C misdemeanors. Misdemeanor offenses are punishable by a year or less in a local jail, a fine, or both. More serious offenses-those punishable by longer terms in state jail or prison-fall under the category of felonies.

Below are the maximum penalties allowed for each misdemeanor class and examples of crimes by class:

Class A Misdemeanors

Class A misdemeanors carry a penalty of up to one year in jail and a $,4000 fine. The examples of class A misdemeanors include:

Class B Misdemeanors

A person convicted of a class B misdemeanor faces up to 180 days of jail time and a $2000 fine.

Examples of Class B misdemeanors include:

Class C Misdemeanors

Class C misdemeanors are fine-only offenses. This means that there is no jail time possible. The maximum fine is $500.

The examples of class c misdemeanors include:

Enhanced Misdemeanor Penalties in Texas

As stated by Texas law provides enhanced penalties for repeat misdemeanor convictions. In some instances, the law’s general enhancement applies.

Other misdemeanors—such as assaulttheft, and family violence crimes—impose enhanced penalties for having a prior conviction for the same or similar offense.

Throughout the Texas Penal code, certain misdemeanors carry increased penalties when the defendant targets a vulnerable or protected individual, targets a victim based on bias or prejudice, or commits the crime in a declared disaster or evacuation area.

An enhanced penalty may increase the offense level or impose a mandatory minimum jail sentence.

When Misdemeanors Become Felonies

Texas Law provides even harsher enhancements-a person can face felony penalties based on prior convictions, increased levels of harm or risk of harm, protected victim status, or a combination of these.

Assault provides a good example of these felony enhancements. Assault that are involving bodily injury starts as a class A misdemeanor. However, the following circumstances increase the offense to a third-degree felony. The defendant assaults:

  • a public servant, first responder, or process server while performing their duties.
  • a pregnant woman.
  • another by strangulation or suffocation, or
  • a family member after being previously convicted of family violence.

In addition, if the assault causes serious bodily injuries, the crime becomes a second-degree felony. The same enhancement applies when a defendant knowingly assaults an on-duty cop or judge.

Misdemeanor Sentencing Options and Alternatives in Texas

When there’s a verdict, a judge will normally impose a misdemeanor sentence immediately or soon thereafter. Several sentencing options are available, including jail time, payment of fines, fees, or restitution, community service hours, and non-contact orders.

The judge can also order sentencing alternatives, such as commitment to a treatment center for chemical dependency or mental health issues. In most misdemeanor cases, below are additional options available.

  • Options for Serving Jail Time
  • Community Supervision
  • Deferred Adjudication
  • Treatment or Specialty Courts
  • Pretrial Diversion

Options for Serving Jail Time

If ordering jail time, the judge may allow a defendant to serve the sentence during off-work hours, on weekends, or under house arrest. A court might also permit a defendant to work off jail time by completing community service hours.

Community Supervision

A judge can also order jail time but suspend the sentence and place the defendant on community supervision for up to two years.

The jail sentence remains suspended only as long as the defendant follows the terms set by the judge.

Standard terms tpically includes obeying all laws, checking in with a probation officer, paying restitution to victims, and going to work or school.

Depending on the offense, a defendant might also be subject to no-contact orders, treatment or education course requirements, driver’s license suspension, or electronic monitoring. The judge can also order the defendant to serve up to 30 days in jail.

Deferred Adjudication

Judges may also accept a defendant’s guilty plea but hold off on announcing a sentence.

Referred to as deferred adjudication, this option allows eligible defendants to avoid a criminal conviction and record.

The judge will set conditions the defendant must meet to get the case dismissed.

Failure to abide by the terms means the judge can continue with sentencing. For misdemeanors, deferred adjudication can last up to two years.

Treatment or Specialty Courts

As a condition of community supervision or deferred adjudication, a defendant may qualify to participate in a specialty court, such as a drug court, mental health court, or veteran’s treatment court.

These courts provide intensive supervision and require frequent court appearances by defendants.

Led by multidisciplinary teams, the program intends to address underlying issues of criminal behavior, such as chemical dependency, mental health issues, or trauma-related conditions. Availability and types of treatment courts vary by county.

Pretrial Diversion

Some prosecutor’s offices run pretrial diversion programs which offer defendants a chance to avoid criminal court and a record altogether.

Not all prosecutors offer pretrial diversion programs and, in those that do, eligibility varies.

Similar to deferred adjudication, a defendant in a pretrial diversion program must abide by conditions, which can last up to two years.

Successful completion means the prosecutor will dismiss the charges. The prosecutor can resume the case if the defendant violates or fails to meet any conditions.

Misdemeanor Classes in Texas Reference:

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