In Texas, misdemeanors are crimes that are punishable by up to one year or less in county jail. They are not as serious as felonies, but they are more serious than infractions. Misdemeanors are categorized into three classes depending on their severity, with Class A misdemeanors being the most serious, to Class C being the least.
What Is a Class B Misdemeanor in Texas?
A Class B misdemeanor is described as a criminal offense that can lead to imprisonment of up to 180 days in county jail, up to $2,000 in fines, or both.
However, the real-life implications of a criminal record are far more complicated. A Class B misdemeanor can cause collateral damage that adds up to several times the amount of the fine, or more.
Furthermore, an enhancement of the offense can lead to harsher punishments, including mandatory minimum jail time and heftier fines.
Class B Misdemeanor Examples
Examples of Class B misdemeanors in Texas include:
- Indecent exposure
- Assault (against a sports participant by a non-participant)
- First-offense DWI
- Minor drug possession (up to 2oz of marijuana)
- False report to a police officer
- Theft of property (valued between $100 and $750)
This is not an exhaustive list. However, it does include examples of some common Class B misdemeanors. If you have been charged with a class B misdemeanor, you should consult a trained and trustworthy lawyer for advice, or risk getting a criminal conviction and record.
Penalties for Class B Misdemeanors in Texas
The penal code describes the punishments for Class B misdemeanors as:
- A maximum fine of $2,000
- A maximum of 180 days in jail
- Both the fine, and jail time
Depending on the type of crime, there may be additional penalties. For example, in some cases, a 1st DWI conviction can lead to the loss of your driver’s license for up to a year and possibly additional state fines.
Collateral Consequences of a Conviction for Class B Misdemeanor in Texas
Unfortunately, as with all criminal records, Class B misdemeanors can have collateral consequences that negatively impact a person’s life.
While it’s difficult to preempt every collateral consequence that a misdemeanor could cause for someone, it’s important to be aware of the main, and most common ones, including employment difficulties, trouble getting loans, and social problems.
Anxiety and Embarrassment
Getting convicted of a crime can lead to a loss of reputation amongst relatives, friends, co-workers, and clients. The subsequent difficulties caused by a criminal record, be they financial, social, or work-related, can quickly lead to feelings of anxiety and isolation. Don’t suffer alone. If you or a loved one have been charged with a misdemeanor, get in touch with a lawyer who will fight your corner.
A misdemeanor is seen as a serious criminal record, and it will show up on background checks run by potential employers, banks, and landlords.
Not only will a Class B misdemeanor cost you in fines, but it can also take away from your future by preventing you from reaching your potential. If you have a professional license, a conviction could even lead to said license getting taken away from you. Depending on the nature of the crime, a conviction could bar you from general public-facing roles.
Loans and Housing
Most landlords run background checks before they are willing to sign a tenancy lease agreement, be it for an apartment or a rental house.
A criminal record may give potential landlords cause for concern, and they may not be willing to take the time and effort to assess your individual background, but instead reject your application based on the conviction.
The same can be said for banks and student loans. These applications could be rejected on the basis that you have been charged or convicted of a crime.
Probation for Class B Misdemeanor Conviction in Texas
In Texas, the court does have the option to impose probation—also known as community supervision—in place of jail time for a misdemeanor. It is used as an alternative to reduce the jail time served, or in some cases, to entirely replace jail time.
However, if probation is imposed, convicts will have to abide by strict terms and conditions. If any of the terms and conditions of probation are broken, then the probation will quickly be revoked, and the convict may be sent to jail.
There are two types of community supervision in Texas: Deferred adjudication and Community supervision.
Instead of going to jail, an offender is offered the chance to remain in the community while being supervised by the court. A community supervision term can last up to two years for a misdemeanor.
There are many terms that the offender must not break while they are on probation, but the most important term is that they must not be charged with another offense during the term.
Some common terms of probation include:
- Community service
- Restitution payments
- Regularly meetings with a probation officer
- Drug or alcohol treatment
- Maintaining steady employment
- Regular and random drug or alcohol tests
- Paying court costs and probation fees
Deferred adjudication is sometimes an option before the offender goes to trial.
Deferred adjudication can be a better outcome than community supervision because the charge can be removed from permanent records. To do so, however, requires the defendant to complete the term successfully, and then ask for a non-disclosure to seal the record from the public.
For a deferred adjudication, an offender pleads guilty, and the conviction is deferred for a set period. Upon successful completion of the term, the offender is not convicted of the offense.
It is important to note, however, that successful completion of deferred adjudication does not automatically lead to the charges disappearing from your record. For that to happen, you must file a petition for non-disclosure. In some cases, there is a waiting period between the end of the deferred probation, and when you will be allowed to file for a petition.
If you need guidance on when you can petition for a deferred adjudication, consult a specialist criminal defense lawyer in Texas.
Breaking the Terms of Probation
If an offender breaks one or more of the conditions of their probation, the probation can be revoked, and the offender can be sent to jail.
The consequences of breaking the terms of probation depend on several factors, including whether there have been previous violations of the terms, and the severity of the violation itself. In many cases, the probation officer may decide to take it to a probation violation hearing, which could eventually result in a jail sentence.
Enhancing Class B Misdemeanors
A misdemeanor can be enhanced into a more severe classification depending on various factors of the offense. Usually, a Class B misdemeanor will become a Class A misdemeanor, which carries heavier penalties, including a larger fine and a longer jail sentence.
For example, a theft of property valued between $100 and $750 would usually be a Class B misdemeanor. However, if the victim was a nonprofit, the charge will become a Class A misdemeanor. For this, you could face up to 1 year in jail, and a $4,000 fine.
Or, for example, a 1st DWI is normally a Class B misdemeanor. However, if there was a passenger under the age of 15 present in the vehicle, the offense becomes a state jail felony.
Punishments for State jail felonies include a fine of up to $10,000, and a jail sentence between 180 days, and two years. As one of the Top 10 criminal attorneys in Texas, we’ve won over 1,000 criminal defense cases. If you or a loved one are facing misdemeanor charges, don’t risk waiting too long. Contact Michael and Associates today and get your free case review