Judge pounding gavelThis is the next post in my series on the handling of misdemeanor charges in Laredo, Texas. My last article provided an overview of topics which this series will be addressing. It also stressed the need to speak with a criminal defense attorney immediately if you or a family member have been charged with a crime. It is important that you speak with counsel as soon as possible due to the fact that having a criminal record can have consequences in regard to your future. In this article I will address the common question of “do defendants go to jail for a first-time misdemeanor?” If you need assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer. We also serve other areas of south Texas.

Laredo, Texas defendants can go to jail or receive probation for a first-time misdemeanor

Texas has several classes of misdemeanors and they each carry different penalties. Whether a defendant will receive jail time will depend on the class to which the charge is assigned and the facts of the offense. Class “A” misdemeanors can be punished by no more than one year in jail and with a fine. Class “B” charges can result in a maximum sentence of 180 days in jail in addition to fines. Class “C” charges, by contrast, do not carry the potential of incarceration. While the first two of these classes can carry a term of incarceration, a defendant will also be eligible for probation. A defendant sentenced to probation will be given a term of incarceration but would be given a chance to stay out of trouble and meet certain requirements. As long as the accused individual successfully completes probation, they would not have to serve the sentence. If the probation is violated, then the Court may impose the sentence already dictated by the Court.

Texas is like other states in that misdemeanors can be “stacked” on top of felony charges. Suppose, as an example, that a Laredo defendant is charged with public intoxication, which is a Class “C” charge. Now suppose that the individual also assaulted, and seriously injured, another person while drunk. Under this scenario, the defendant could simultaneously be charged with both a misdemeanor and felony assault. So while the public intoxication charge would not result in jail time, in and of itself, the assault charge very well could. While it is important to remember that the outcome of a matter will always depend on the facts of the case, this example illustrates that misdemeanor offenders can go to jail for other charges which they may face.

Texas defendants will receive a criminal record as the result of a misdemeanor conviction

There are consequences besides jail time which can flow from Texas misdemeanor charges. A conviction will mean that the defendant will have a permanent criminal record. This can result in the individual having difficulties passing background checks related to employment, housing, professional licenses, and more. While it is understandable that a first-time defendant may be concerned with incarceration, they should take the charges seriously as they may be facing long-term damage to their future. Retaining an experienced attorney is one of the best things an individual can do to ensure that their rights remain protected.

I am a Laredo criminal defense lawyer who assists those facing first-time misdemeanor charges. My office is founded on the idea that everyone is entitled to aggressive representation and respect. If you or a loved one are in need of assistance then contact us online or by telephone today. We look forward to speaking with you.