Generally, a crime punishable by imprisonment of one year or more is considered a felony. People convicted of felonies are sentenced to state or federal prison. Certain felonies are punishable by death. In contrast, misdemeanors are less serious offenses such as shoplifting or trespassing. Misdemeanors are punishable by less than one year of imprisonment and those who are convicted may be sentenced to local, city or county jail.
In Texas, misdemeanors are categorized into three classes — A, B and C.
- Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in jail as well as a fine not to exceed $4,000. Under Texas law, Class A misdemeanors include assault causing bodily injury, second offenses of driving while intoxicated (DWI), and theft of property with a value of $500 to $1,500.
- Class B misdemeanors are punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and/or confinement in jail of up to six months (180 days). Examples of Class B misdemeanors are first offenses of driving while intoxicated (DWI), possession of less than two ounces of marijuana, and theft of property with a value of $50 to $500.
- Class C misdemeanors do not include any jail time. Public intoxication, traffic offenses, minors in possession of alcohol, and disorderly conduct offenses are types of Class C misdemeanors.
Class A and Class B misdemeanors are heard in the County Courts-at-Law, while Class C misdemeanors are heard either in Municipal Court (if the offense allegedly occurred in the city limits) or in the Justice of the Peace courts (if the offense allegedly occurred outside the city limits). Penalties can also include probation and community service.
Having a misdemeanor conviction on your record is less serious than a felony conviction but it can still impact your future by affecting your ability to get everything from a job to a loan to a professional license. For example, many employers perform background checks and may not hire an applicant with a criminal background, and schools may reject applications from students with criminal records.
William handles misdamenors of all type including those with county court, municipal and/or justice of the peace and felonies. William also handles all criminal matters involving juveniles.