Charged with a Class B Misdemeanor in Texas?
A Class B misdemeanor (Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 12.22) is punishable by up to 180 days in county jail and up to a $2,000 fine. A conviction for a class B misdemeanor will stay on your criminal record forever and prevent you from obtaining gainful employment – which is why it’s essential to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer dedicated to keeping your record clean.
Offenders charged with a Class B misdemeanor usually appear before a judge for an arraignment. During this hearing, offenders can either plead guilty or not guilty; if they assert guilty, then sentencing is generally determined at that time. If an offender pleads not guilty, then they have the right to request a jury trial, during which evidence must be presented by both parties to prove innocence or guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The most common class B misdemeanor offenses are:
- Theft – Taking property belonging to someone else without their consent, with a value between $50 and $500
- First-Offense DWI – Driving While Intoxicated, with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher, first offense*
- Indecent Exposure – Intentionally exposing one’s genitals in a public place
- Criminal Trespass – Entering or remaining on someone else’s property without their consent
- Prostitution – Offering or agreeing to engage in sexual conduct for a fee
- Failure to Pay Child Support – Willfully failing to make court-ordered child support payments
- Minor Drug Possession of less than 2 ounces of marijuana or other controlled substances
- Harassment Intentionally – harassing or annoying someone else
- False Report to a Police Officer – Knowingly making a false report to a law enforcement officer
- Possession of Marijuana under two oz.
* mandatory driver’s license suspension of 90-365 days, and completion of a DWI education program
Class B Misdemeanors in Texas
If you are a resident of Texas, understanding the classifications of misdemeanors is essential. Class B misdemeanors are a subcategory of all misdemeanors and can lead to severe consequences if convicted. This article will explore what qualifies as a Class B misdemeanor in Texas and the repercussions of committing such an offense. We will also cover potential defenses and how to move forward if you face a Class B misdemeanor charge.
A wide array of class B misdemeanor charges encompassing the full spectrum of criminal offenses. Attorneys routinely defend a variety of Class B Misdemeanor charges in Texas – including the following crimes:
- Disorderly Conduct (involving a firearm),
- Evading Arrest,
- Failure to ID (identify) by giving false identification to police,
- Possession of a controlled substance,
- Silent or Abusive Calls to 911,
- Misdemeanor Terroristic Threats, and
- Driving with license suspended or invalid.
Attorneys routinely defend Texas Class B Misdemeanor charges of all types all across the state. In a competitive job market, you can’t afford a criminal record because of a Class B misdemeanor conviction. Defense attorneys also provide local jail release (attorney writ bonds), removal of warrants, bond reductions, and probation violation representation for Class B misdemeanors in Texas.
In Texas, Class B Misdemeanors are the second-most serious misdemeanor offense. As such, they carry more severe punishments than Class C Misdemeanors, the least serious misdemeanor offenses.
Class B Misdemeanor Theft Texas
In Texas, Class B Misdemeanors are considered crimes of “modest” proportions. For example, offenses such as shoplifting items worth up to $100 or writing bad checks of up to $500 can constitute a Class B Misdemeanor. Importantly, theft is also one of the types of conduct that can be charged as a Class B Misdemeanor.
Under Texas Penal Code Section 31.03, theft is defined as taking another person’s property without their consent and with the intent to deprive them of it. The amount stolen must be worth between $50 and $500, which is why stealing something valued at lower than $50 is typically charged as a Class C, rather than a Class B, Misdemeanor. However, if the value of the stolen goods exceeds $500, then the charge can become a more serious crime—theft of property with a value exceeding $500 is considered a state jail felony.
If you’re convicted of a Class B Misdemeanor Theft in Texas, the potential penalties include up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $2,000, and community service. You may also be required to pay restitution to the victim in order to make up for some or all of the losses they sustained due to your actions.
Fortunately, there are several possible defenses you can use against a charge of Class B Misdemeanor Theft in Texas. First of all, you can argue that you had the intention of returning the goods at some point in the future. Furthermore, if you were falsely accused or if your actions resulted from duress or necessity, these factors could also affect the outcome of your case. It’s important to consult with a criminal defense lawyer to determine which defense strategy is best suited for your circumstances.
Texas Class B Misdemeanor Sentencing
A misdemeanor sentence is usually imposed quickly or shortly after a guilty plea or verdict. Other punishment possibilities include jail time, fines, fees, restitution, community service hours, and no-contact orders. The judge may impose alternative sentences, such as confinement in a treatment facility for chemical dependency or mental health difficulties. Additional options are available in most minor instances.
Depending on the severity of the offense, the punishment for a Class B Misdemeanor can range from a fine of up to $2,000 to a jail sentence of up to 180 days or a combination of both. Additionally, a conviction may include probation, community service, or other forms of rehabilitation.
Enhanced Misdemeanor Penalties in Texas
Repeat misdemeanor offenses in Texas carry harsher punishments. In some cases, the general enhancement of the legislation applies. Other misdemeanors, such as assault, theft, and domestic violence, carry harsher penalties if you have a past conviction for the same or a comparable offense.
These penalties increase the punishment for certain misdemeanors, including DWI and Aggravated Assault. The new penalties took effect on September 1st, 2017. Under the new law, DWI will now be a Class B misdemeanor with a fine of up to $4,000 and up to 180 days in jail. Aggravated Assault will now be a Class A misdemeanor with a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 2 years in jail. These are among the most severe misdemeanors that can still result in probation instead of prison time. These enhanced penalties were passed as part of HB 2299, signed into law by Governor Greg in 2017.
Some misdemeanors carry higher penalties throughout the Texas Penal Code when the defendant targets a vulnerable or protected individual, targets a victim based on bias or prejudice, or commits the act in a proclaimed disaster or evacuation region. An increased penalty may raise the degree of the violation or impose a mandatory minimum jail sentence.
Texas Class B Misdemeanor Lawyer
A Texas misdemeanor lawyer will fight to keep a Class B Misdemeanor conviction from staining your permanent criminal record. We will explore dismissal options, Class C misdemeanor reductions, pretrial diversion, and deferred adjudication possibilities – not to mention winning your case at trial – all to ensure your eligibility for expunction or nondisclosure of your criminal record in the future. Contact an attorney today for a free consultation and to find out what options may be available to you.
Class B misdemeanors are serious offenses that carry severe consequences in Texas. Therefore, anyone convicted of a Class B misdemeanor must seek legal advice to understand their rights and the potential effects they face. The penalties for a conviction can be substantial and may include jail time, fines, and community service. Furthermore, the impact of a criminal record can be long-lasting and should not be taken lightly.