Why You Need an Attorney for Misdemeanor Charges
If you’ve been arrested and charged with a simple misdemeanor, you may be tempted to think that you can get away with simply handling the matter yourself. Whether you want to just accept the penalty, pay your fine, and move on with your life, or attempt to defend yourself and see if you can get your charges dismissed, many people think they can handle their issue on their own. However, should they try? Turns out, that may not be the best idea.
Serious Consequences of a Misdemeanor Conviction
When you face misdemeanor charges for things like loitering, disorderly conduct, or being intoxicated in public, you may be tempted to think that these are minor charges that won’t have much of an impact on your life. To a certain extent, you’re right. These offenses rarely carry jail time, usually have a minor fine of around $500 or so (sometimes even less) and you can move on with your life without issue.
However, what you may not realize is that your crime could be more serious than you thought. Those who have been convicted of a misdemeanor could face serious consequences when it comes to things like finding housing, seeking employment, and much more. What you may think was just a minor consequence of a crazy night could come back to haunt you later when you find out that you’ve been passed over for a new job or you’ve even been terminated as a result of your no longer clean criminal history. It might seem harsh, but it happens.
More Serious Than You Thought
You might be tempted to plead guilty to your charges, but do you know exactly how serious your charges can be? Texas breaks down misdemeanor offenses into three different classes, with Class A being the most serious and Class C being the least. If you’re facing Class A misdemeanor charges, you could face up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $4,000! That’s no small set of penalties for an offense that didn’t seem all that serious! Class B misdemeanors aren’t much better, with the possibility of jail for up to 180 days and a fine not to exceed $2,000!
Common Misdemeanors & Their Classes
To help you get a better idea of what you might be facing, here are some common offenses in each misdemeanor class:
- Class A misdemeanors: Carrying a firearm without a permit, pimping, perjury, jumping bail, public lewdness, vehicle burglary
- Class B misdemeanors: Possession of up to two ounces of marijuana, indecent exposure, first-offense DWI, harassment, filing a false report with the police, failing to pay child support
- Class C misdemeanors: Theft of property worth less than $50, disorderly conduct, criminal trespassing, minor in possession (both alcohol and tobacco), possession of drug paraphernalia, being drunk in public