There are two levels of criminal charges: misdemeanor and felony. Though felony charges are more severe, misdemeanor charges are also serious and should not be treated lightly. If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, you must set yourself up for success early in the process. Retaining an Angleton misdemeanor lawyer as soon as you become aware of the charges is one of the most effective ways to build a competent defense.
With nearly two decades of experience within the criminal justice system, the Law Office of Joseph Ruiz, PLLC, has a strong history of protecting the rights of those in our community. We can work diligently in your defense. Our team can convince the prosecutor to dismiss or reduce the charges or agree to a plea deal. If these are not possible, we can craft a strong defense strategy for your trial.
A misdemeanor is the less severe type of criminal charge in Angleton, Texas. There are three levels of misdemeanor that can be charged, depending on the crime and the specific circumstances of the offense. In order of least severe to most severe, the three misdemeanor levels are:
What distinguishes each level of misdemeanor from the others is the severity of punishment that can be given after a conviction.
Though these penalties are severe, they are far from the only consequences of a conviction. Other consequences can include:
The repercussions of a misdemeanor conviction can be severe and life-altering. Speaking with an experienced Angleton misdemeanor lawyer can help prevent these penalties, especially if your attorney can get the charges dismissed or reduced.
One way that misdemeanor charges can be elevated pertains to your criminal history. Some misdemeanor charges are affected by prior convictions of the same type, and that will increase the severity of the punishment you are facing if convicted. It is even possible for some misdemeanor charges to be elevated to a felony level with repeat offenses. The severity of the penalties will increase as the number of offenses increases.
One example is a Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) charge. A first-time DWI will be charged as a Class B misdemeanor. A second DWI offense is charged as a Class A misdemeanor. A third or subsequent DWI offense will be charged as a third-degree felony. Working with a skilled misdemeanor defense attorney can help you prevent convictions from adding up in this manner.
A: Violating a law has a predetermined charge, but some conditions can change the severity of the charge. These conditions are called enhancing factors. Examples of enhancing factors include:
Prior convictions can always be used, even if they occurred in a state other than Texas.
A: The most serious class of misdemeanors is a Class A misdemeanor. Class A misdemeanors carry a maximum penalty of 1 year in jail and/or fines of up to $4,000. They can also carry a 90-day minimum jail sentence if the defendant has a prior Class A misdemeanor or felony offense and a minimum 180-day jail sentence if the offense was motivated by prejudice, or drugs were used to commit the crime.
A: A plea bargain is a tool used by the prosecution and defense to create an agreement that results in avoiding a trial. The intent of a plea bargain is to reduce the charges or penalties in exchange for the defendant pleading guilty or no contest. Plea bargains are frequently used to reduce felonies down to misdemeanors, but they can also be used to reduce the severity of a misdemeanor.
A: There is no legal requirement to retain a criminal defense attorney if you have been charged with a misdemeanor. However, it is highly recommended to retain an attorney who can help you navigate this complicated and nuanced situation. A quality Angleton defense attorney has experience in the court where your case is being tried, and their valuable insight can help get a more positive outcome in your case.