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  • Writer's pictureJustin Sparks

What Is a Class A Misdemeanor in Texas and How to Beat It?

In Texas, misdemeanor charges are not only considered less serious than felony offenses but are also further classified into three categories based on the severity of the offense.

While such classifications make the Texas Penal Code even more complicated, it does open the door for an experienced criminal defense attorney to launch a strong defense and prevent their client from being punished for a felony offense.

Texas misdemeanor penalties vary greatly depending on a wide range of factors. Understanding these factors is something that only a highly skilled criminal defense lawyer can do. Sparks Law Firm has a strong panel of such attorneys with years of experience dealing with Texas misdemeanor cases. They can answer questions such as what is a misdemeanor in Texas?

Class A Misdemeanor Vs. Class B Misdemeanor Vs. Class C Misdemeanor

Class A Misdemeanor Vs. Class B Misdemeanor Vs. Class C Misdemeanor

Criminal offenses in Texas are usually categorized into any of the following classifications in order of increasing severity of the offense and the punishments:

  • Class C misdemeanors

  • Class B misdemeanors

  • Class A misdemeanors

  • State jail felony

  • First-degree felony

  • Second-degree felony

  • Third-degree felony

While all these criminal offense classifications are punishable by Texas law, being charged with a misdemeanor offense is better than facing felony charges.

With a misdemeanor conviction, an offender may only be slapped with a fine without any time spent in county jail, while avoiding incarceration is not easy with state jail felonies and more serious charges.

In terms of the fines and jail time that offenders face when facing misdemeanor charges, the Texas Penal Code uses the following recommendations:

Class A Misdemeanor - A maximum fine of $4,000 and up to one year in jail

Class B Misdemeanor - Not more than 180 days in county jail and a maximum fine of $2,000

Class C Misdemeanor - No jail time at all and a maximum fine of up to $500

Examples of Class A Misdemeanors

Any of the following criminal offenses can be deemed a Class A misdemeanor under the right circumstances:

  • Resisting arrest or evading arrest if any force is used against a police officer

  • Vehicular burglary or entering a car with the intent to steal or commit any other felony offense

  • Theft of property valued between $750 and $2,500, including employee theft and shoplifting

  • Unlawfully entering someone else's property, also called criminal trespassing

  • A DWI charge for first-time offenders caught driving while intoxicated with drugs or alcohol

  • Family violence or assault causing bodily injury to a family member or domestic partner

Other Class A misdemeanor charges can be filed for any of the following criminal offenses:

  • Cruelty to animals

  • Perjury

  • Unlawful restraint

  • Public lewdness

  • Online impersonation

  • Gambling promotion

  • DWI (second offense)

Penalties for a Class A Misdemeanor Conviction

With so many different types of criminal offenses that can be deemed Class A misdemeanors in Texas, it is no wonder that there is no one specific punishment that fits all. The Texas Penal Code provides guidance regarding the fines and jail time that can be handed down to those convicted of such misdemeanors.

However, each case will differ, and it is often up to the judge to decide what sort of punishment will be fair. Besides the maximum of up to one year in jail and a fine of not more than $4,000, other important guidelines are followed, such as:

  • A mandatory minimum jail sentence of 180 days if drugs were used in the committing of the crime or the offense was motivated by prejudice or bias

  • At least 90 days in jail if the offender has prior convictions for either Class A misdemeanors or felonies

On top of these immediate penalties that will be imposed on the offender, there will also be collateral consequences that may last a lifetime. Having a criminal record for a Class A misdemeanor can make it difficult for the offender to find suitable employment, obtain housing, or apply for financial loans from banks.

Probation for a Class A Misdemeanor Conviction

Probation is always an option when dealing with a Class A misdemeanor offense. In Texas, probation is often used as part of the state's alternative sentencing options meant to reduce prison populations by allowing the offender to live at home under community supervision.

The offender will be required to adhere to strict regulations, such as drug tests and visits from their probation officer. Other probation conditions may include:

  • Avoid jail time, arrest, or any legal trouble during the probation period

  • Attending counseling sessions

  • Performing community service

  • Making restitution payments to the victims of the criminal offense

Enhancements of Class A Misdemeanor Offenses

Class A misdemeanors can result in enhanced penalties for the offender under certain conditions in which they are treated as state jail felony offenses. Enhancements depend on the nature of the crimes, and some examples are as follows:

  • Breaking into a vehicle in a disaster area

  • Online impersonation with the intent of getting a police response

  • Forgery committed against vulnerable victims, such as the elderly

If a Class A misdemeanor is enhanced to a state jail felony offense, it may carry a sentence of up to two years in prison and/or $10,000 in fines.

However, in cases where the crime is serious enough to warrant an enhancement to a third-degree felony charge, the offender could face up to 10 years in jail and/or a fine of $10,000.

Four Ways to Fight a Class A Misdemeanor Charge

In many cases, the outcome of a Class A misdemeanor case depends on the defense strategy that is used by the defendant. To improve the chances of avoiding a criminal conviction, offenders can make use of the following tips:

Remain Silent

Before the arrival of an experienced attorney, the defendant needs to remain calm and silent throughout the arrest process.

Usually, the arresting law enforcement officials will try to get the offender to talk and possibly incriminate themselves. However, Texas law gives everyone the right to remain silent to avoid anything they say being used against them in court.

Gather Evidence

If possible, it is essential to gather as much evidence at the arrest scene as possible, including contact details of potential witnesses. An experienced criminal defense attorney can use this information to launch their investigation and possibly get the prosecution to drop the charges or enter into a plea bargain for a lighter sentence.

Hire a Good Criminal Defense Attorney

A good criminal defense strategy hinges on the level of skill and expertise that the attorney has when it comes to dealing with Class A misdemeanors in Texas.

Understanding the specific implications of the misdemeanor charge is an important part of the case, and only with the help of a good lawyer can an offender do that. As such, soon after being arrested, the offender needs to contact a reliable law firm to represent them in any negotiations or criminal court proceedings. A Fort Worth criminal law firm may be able to help.

Plead Down to a Lesser Charge

Finally, the defendant may choose to enter into plea bargains so that they are allowed to plead guilty to a lesser charge rather than risk being handed a stiffer sentence in the courtroom.

Class A misdemeanors can be reduced to Class B or C misdemeanors under the right conditions. The offender will benefit by avoiding harsher punishments for their offenses while the court will also save a lot of time by avoiding a lengthy trial.

Dealing With a Misdemeanor Criminal Record

Having a Class A misdemeanor criminal conviction does not mean the offender has to continue suffering for the rest of their lives because they now have a criminal record. With the right legal process, a good defense attorney can deal with a criminal record in any of the following ways:


Getting a criminal record expunged in Texas will result in all documentation and information related to the arrest, trial, and conviction of an offender in a particular case being destroyed.

This means potential employers will not be able to see that the person was once arrested or convicted on Class A misdemeanor charges. If the nature of the crime makes an expungement impossible, the attorney can help the offender to petition the court for a non-disclosure instead.

Sealing Juvenile Records

Sealing Juvenile Records

In Texas, as long as a juvenile meets the required conditions, their records will immediately be sealed when they turn 18 as long as they were never referred for delinquent conduct and they do not have any pending adult charges or an adult felony conviction.

Pretrial Diversion Program

It is also possible to avoid having a criminal record in the first place by completing a pretrial diversion program that will prevent the court from giving the defendant a criminal record.

Sparks Law Firm Is Ready to Fight for Its Clients

Considering the fines, jail sentences, probation, and other collateral consequences that result from a Class A misdemeanor conviction in Texas, offenders need to hire a good lawyer to fight for their rights in court.

Sparks Law Firm has cultivated a reputation for being one of the most reliable criminal defense attorneys in Fort Worth Texas. When facing serious Class A misdemeanor charges in Texas, offenders can visit Sparks Law Firm for a free consultation.


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