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What is the Difference between Class A, B, and C Misdemeanors?

Texas law divides criminal offenses into two main categories - felonies and misdemeanors. Misdemeanor offenses are less severe than felony charges, but they are still matters you should take very seriously. Even if you think your charge is simply a “minor” misdemeanor, you can still face lasting consequences, and you should still have the assistance and representation of a Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

Degrees of Misdemeanors

The law further divides each category of criminal charges into degrees, and for misdemeanors, these include Class A, B, and C misdemeanors. Class C is the least serious, while Class A is the level right before a charge becomes a felony. While each degree of charge has its own potential penalties, no misdemeanor charge can have penalties involving more than one year in county jail.

Class A Misdemeanor Charges

The maximum penalty for a Class A misdemeanor conviction is one year in jail and fines up to $4,000. Some examples include:

When a prosecutor enhances a Class A misdemeanor, it becomes a state jail felony, so this is a serious situation.

Class B Misdemeanor Charges

The next level down, a Class B misdemeanor conviction can lead to up to 180 days in county jail, fines up to $2,000, or both. If enhanced, the charge can become a Class A misdemeanor or in some cases, a felony. Some Class B charges include:

Class C Misdemeanor Charges

These are the least serious offenses when it comes to Texas criminal law, and there is no jail time possible for a Class C conviction. Instead, the maximum penalty is a fine of $500. However, a Class C misdemeanor will still be a mark on your permanent criminal record, so it is not something to be taken lightly. Having a criminal record - even with a minor conviction - can still cause many problems in your life.

Examples of Class C misdemeanors are:

In general, prosecutors have two years to charge you with a misdemeanor from the date of the alleged offenses. While probation is often an option in lieu of jail time for misdemeanor cases, some misdemeanors come with a mandatory jail sentence if certain factors exist, such as having prior convictions.

Discuss Your Case With a Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorney

Even if a misdemeanor seems minor, it can still have an effect on your life in many different ways. You should never risk an overly harsh result - instead, reach out to Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer Kyle Whitaker as soon as you can. Contact us to learn more about how we can help defend against your misdemeanor charges.