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Misdemeanor and Felony Charges

The various criminal charges prosecuted under Texas Law include both misdemeanor and felony offenses. Misdemeanor offenses generally are considered less serious than felony offenses, but both should be taken seriously. Misdemeanors and felonies can result in jail time, fines and a criminal record. A criminal defense attorney can help you get the best possible results in your case, no matter the charge.

San Antonio Felony Defense Attorneys

Criminal charges always should be taken seriously, whether they are misdemeanor charges or felony charges. The attorneys at Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr have represented clients charged with violent crimes, domestic violence, theft, robbery, burglary, white collar crimes, firearm offenses, drug crimes, and sexually motivated crimes.

The attorneys at Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr can help you fight the charges and make sure your rights are represented in each step of the criminal process. They are experienced in fighting criminal charges throughout San Antonio and the surrounding areas throughout Texas. Call us at 210-226-1463 today to discuss your case. The first consultation is free.

Information on Felony and Misdemeanor Charges

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What is the Difference Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony in Texas?

Texas law distinguishes between a felony and a misdemeanor. Misdemeanors are crimes that are considered less serious, and felonies are some of the harshest offenses. Within those broad categories there are distinctions to determine the severity of the charge and the correlating consequences.

Both felony and misdemeanor offenses come with a host of collateral consequences that can impact your educational and professional opportunities. A misdemeanor is punishable by up to 12 months in jail. Any criminal offense with a statutory maximum punishment of incarceration that exceeds 12 months is a felony.

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Common Misdemeanor and Felony Offenses

Offenses are classified as either felonies or misdemeanors based on the severity of the crime. Some common examples of misdemeanors include:

  • Assault
  • Criminal mischief
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol by a minor
  • Driving with a suspended license
  • Harassment
  • Indecent exposure
  • Possession of a controlled substance
  • Prostitution
  • Theft
  • Violation of a protective order

Felonies are considered more serious offenses, and they often carry harsher penalties. Violent crimes most often are considered felonies; however, other charges could be upgraded to felonies based on several factors. Some common examples of felony offenses in Texas include:

  • Aggravated crimes
  • Arson
  • Drug charges
  • Felon in possession of a weapon
  • Injury to a child
  • Kidnapping
  • Manslaughter
  • Murder
  • Rape or sexual assault
  • Robbery
  • Stalking
  • Weapons charges

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Types of Misdemeanor Classifications

In Texas, misdemeanor charges are broken into three classes: A, B, and C, classes according to the severity of the offense. The most serious misdemeanor is a Class A misdemeanor. The penalties for the offenses could include:

  • Class A Misdemeanor: The most serious type of misdemeanor carries with it a statutory maximum penalty of a $4,000 fine and up to one year in jail or both, according to Texas Penal Code Annotated § 12.21.
  • Class B Misdemeanor: This type of offense is in between the highest and lowest level of misdemeanor offenses. The Class B Misdemeanor is punishable by up to a $2,000 fine and 180 days in the county jail or both under the Texas Penal Code Annotated § 12.22.
  • Class C Misdemeanor: This is the lowest level offense which is punishable by only a fine of up to $500. The court is not allowed to sentence a person to jail for a Class C Misdemeanor, according to Texas Penal Code Annotated § 12.23.

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Types of Felony Classifications

A felony crime is considered the most serious level of offense in Texas. A felony is defined as any criminal offense generally deemed more serious than a misdemeanor offense. In Texas, felony charges are divided into several degrees, including:

  • Capital Felony: This is punishable by the highest penalty of all, the death penalty.
  • First degree felony: A first-degree is punishable by five years to 99 years in prison, a $10,000 fine or both. The punishment, depending on the crime, also could include confinement to prison for life.
  • Second-degree felony: A second-degree felony is punishable by between two to 20 years in prison, a fine up to $10,000 or both.
  • Third-degree felony: A third-degree felony is punishable by between two to 10 years in prison, up to $10,000 in fines or both.
  • State Jail Felony: A state felony is punishable by between six months in jail to 2 years in the jail, a $10,000 fine or both.

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Additional Resources

Criminal Justice Section of the Texas Bar - This section is devoted to educating the criminal defense bar and the judiciary on recent changes in procedural and substantive criminal laws in Texas. The Criminal Justice Section sponsors the Continuing Legal Education seminar at the Texas State Bar Annual meeting and co-sponsors the Texas Bar Advanced Criminal Law Course. Additionally, it publishes a monthly newsletter to members entitled “Interesting Cases.”

Warrants in Bexar County, Texas - Search the Bexar County Clerk's Office website if you are looking for information on any outstanding warrants in Bexar County, Texas, including fugitive warrants and warrants for the failure to appear in court. Search here for misdemeanor warrants for DWI or family domestic violence.

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Finding the Best Bexar County Misdemeanor Lawyer

If you are facing charges for a felony or misdemeanor offense, contact a criminal defense lawyer at Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr. We are experienced in representing clients on a wide variety of criminal charges from the most serious to the least serious. Call us at 210-226-1463 today to discuss your case during a free initial consultation.

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