Austin Misdemeanor Defense Attorney
Austin Misdemeanor AttorneyWhen charged with a misdemeanor offense in Austin, Texas, it is important to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney who can protect your rights and fight for the best possible outcome in your case. Misdemeanors carry less severe punishments than felonies (long prison sentence is unlikely), but they still carry potential consequences such as fines, probation, community service, and even jail time. ATX Legal is a law firm based in the heart of Austin, Texas. Misdemeanor lawyer Rob Chesnutt will represent clients charged with criminal cases in Travis, Hays, and Williamson counties. Text our law office at 512-677-5003 for a free consultation.
What are the Penalties for Misdemeanor Crimes in Texas?By definition, a misdemeanor criminal offense has a maximum punishment of up to one year. In contrast, a felony leads to a year or more in prison. The penalties for misdemeanor convictions in Texas vary depending on the severity of the offense and can include jail time and expensive fines. Generally, there are three classes of misdemeanors in Texas:
- Class A misdemeanors: These crimes are considered more serious offenses and are punishable by a maximum penalty of up to one year in county jail and a maximum fine up to $4,000.
- Class B misdemeanors: These offenses are punishable by a maximum penalty of up to 180 days in county jail and maximum fine up to $2,000.
- Class C misdemeanors: Considered the least serious type of misdemeanor crime It is often a simple traffic offense, but can also include something like possession of drug paraphernalia. It does not result in jail time but can still be punishable by a maximum fine up to $500. Class C misdemeanors are handled in JP or municipal court, rather than county court.
What are Common Misdemeanors in Texas?There are over 1,000 misdemeanor criminal offenses under Texas law. Some of the most common include:
- Petty Theft: This includes the theft of property worth $50 to $500. It is usually considered Class B misdemeanors.
- Public Intoxication: Being visibly drunk or under the influence of drugs in a public place is a crime. It is typically classified as a Class C misdemeanor.
- Simple Assault: This offense involves intentionally causing bodily injury to another person, and it is usually considered a Class A misdemeanor.
- Disorderly Conduct: This offense encompasses a variety of actions that may disturb the peace or threaten the safety of others, such as fighting in public, making unreasonable noise, or using abusive language. Depending on the severity of the crime, it can be classified as a Class C or Class B misdemeanor.
Misdemeanor DWI“But for the grace of God go I” is a phrase that resonates particularly in the context of a misdemeanor drunk driving criminal offense. Any individual, regardless of their background or current circumstances, could find themselves charged with misdemeanor DWI. First time DWIs are charged as a class B misdemeanor, but can be enhanced to class A misdemeanors or even a felony with severe consequences in some circumstances. DWIs can have their own unique penalties, including license suspension, ignition interlock device for your vehicle, and mandatory alcohol counseling. A good criminal defense lawyer can limit the penalties.
Misdemeanor Domestic ViolenceOften a prosecutor will treat a misdemeanor domestic violence charge more seriously than other misdemeanor offenses. Assaults against a household member can be charged as a felony or class A misdemeanor depending on the severity of the injuries and other factors. Consequences of a Domestic Violence misdemeanor conviction can be greater than a typical misdemeanor conviction. These can include restraining orders, loss of custody rights, mandatory anger management courses, and substantial fines. You are also more likely to spend days in jail when the charge is a violent crime. If found guilty, a conviction results in a family violence finding, which can also have a lasting impact on one’s criminal record, and your ability to possess firearms. Also, a future family violence conviction could be enhanced to a felony. It’s important to seek legal counsel immediately if charged with Domestic Violence.
What to Do if You Are Charged with a Misdemeanor?If you are facing criminal charges, it’s important to seek legal help as soon as possible. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can provide a jail release, of course. But he can also provide guidance and support throughout the legal process and work towards the best possible outcome for your case. Here are some steps to take if you find yourself facing criminal charges:
- Seek Legal Assistance: It’s crucial to have a skilled defense lawyer on your side, as they can help navigate the complex legal system and build a strong defense for your case.
- Understand Your Charges: Make sure you fully understand the charges against you and their potential consequences. Your lawyer can explain the legal implications of each charge and help you make informed decisions.
- Gather Evidence: Collect any evidence that may support your case, such as witness statements, photos, reports, etc.
Plea Negotiation for Misdemeanor OffensesPlea negotiations are a fundamental part of the criminal justice system. For misdemeanor criminal offenses, a plea negotiation sometimes involves the defendant agreeing to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a more lenient sentence or dismissal of other charges. This is often a strategic decision, guided by your misdemeanor lawyer, to mitigate the potential consequences of a conviction. It is important to work closely with your misdemeanor defense attorney to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your case, understand all potential outcomes, and make an informed decision about whether a plea bargain is in your best interest. In most cases, a plea agreement for a misdemeanor crime is likely to be probation, rather than days in jail.
How Long Until a Misdemeanor Case is Resolved?The timeline for a misdemeanor case resolution can vary significantly, depending on the complexity of the crimes and many other factors. After some time to gather discovery, you will typically need to attend court every 30-45 days until the charge is resolved, On average, misdemeanor cases tend to be resolved quicker than felony crimes, possibly taking anywhere from a few weeks to several months. In some instances, if the case goes to trial, it could potentially extend over a year. Your defense attorney should be able to provide a more precise timeline based on the specifics of your case and the local court system. Remember, each case has its unique characteristics and legal circumstances, so timelines can vary. It’s crucial to maintain regular communication with your attorney to stay updated on the progress of your case.
How Can a Criminal Lawyer Help with My Misdemeanor Crimes?An experienced criminal defense attorney can provide invaluable assistance in dealing with misdemeanors. First, they can evaluate the charges and evidence against you, identifying any potential weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, challenging the evidence and possibly questioning its legality or relevance. Additionally, a criminal lawyer can negotiate plea bargains with the prosecutor, potentially reducing your sentence or even getting the misdemeanor charges dismissed. Beyond the legal proceedings, a criminal lawyer can also provide support during a stressful time, helping you understand the process and manage your expectations realistically. Criminal defense lawyers ensure that your legal rights are protected throughout the process and that you are treated fairly by the court system. This support can make a significant difference in your experience and the eventual outcome of your misdemeanor charge. Hiring a criminal lawyer can secure you the best possible outcome when facing misdemeanor charges. It is a critical step in protecting your rights, your reputation, and your future.
Texas Misdemeanor Charges – FAQs
What is the Statute of Limitations for Misdemeanors in Texas?In Texas, the statute of limitations for misdemeanors is two years. This means that the government has a two-year window from the date of the alleged offense to file charges. If the charges are not filed within the designated period, the case can be dismissed due to the expiration of the statute of limitations.
Are Tickets Considered Misdemeanors?In Texas, most traffic tickets are considered Class C misdemeanors. This is the lowest level of misdemeanor, often resulting in a fine but no jail time. However, more serious traffic offenses, such as reckless driving or DWI, can be classified as higher-level misdemeanors or even felonies, depending on the severity of the offense.
Does a Misdemeanor Arrest Show up on my Record?Yes, a misdemeanor arrest and jail time – if any – will appear on your criminal record and on background checks. However, the record of the arrest can potentially be cleared through a process known as expunction, under certain conditions. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can provide advice on eligibility for expunction and guide you through the process.
Will a Misdemeanor Affect My Professional License?In Texas, a misdemeanor conviction can potentially impact your professional license. Certain professions, such as law, medicine, and education, have strict ethical guidelines and any criminal conviction could lead to disciplinary action. ATX Legal handles license defense and can answer specific questions in this area.
Misdemeanor Defense Lawyer Serving Austin, TXIf you or a loved one is facing a misdemeanor charge, you can discuss the case with an experienced misdemeanor attorney well-versed in Texas criminal law. At ATX Legal, our law firm provides high-level, personalized representation for misdemeanors and felonies. We offer affordable rates and payment plans. Don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. Fill out a contact form or text 512-677-5003.
CONTACT ATX LEGAL
505 West 12th Street, Suite 200 Austin Texas 78701