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What is a Class “C” Misdemeanor?

May 7, 2018

Misdemeanors in Texas are crimes that are punishable by up to one year in jail and/or up to a $4,000 fine, and all misdemeanors are classified into the categories of A, B, or C.

A Class “C” Misdemeanor is the lowest level criminal offense in the state of Texas. These Class C misdemeanors have a fine limited to up to $500 and have no jail time attached to their conviction.

While these crimes are the least serious and don’t carry the risk of jail time, that does not mean that you don’t have the right to a jury trial or the ability to hire a lawyer to fight a Class C misdemeanor charge.

Common examples of Class C misdemeanor charges include:

  • Most traffic tickets
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Public intoxication
  • Criminal trespassing
  • Petty theft, like shoplifting under $50
  • Possession of an alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Leaving a child in a vehicle
  • Driving under the influence (DUI) by a minor
  • A minor in possession of alcohol or tobacco

While jail time is not a possible punishment for a Class C misdemeanor, an officer may still arrest you for most Class C offenses, except for speeding. While this may seem unfair, the issue has made it all the way to the Supreme Court, which upheld the right of officers to arrest for Class C misdemeanors in Texas.

If you pay a citation for a Class C misdemeanor, that will result in a conviction on your record. While these charges are the least serious, and they don’t carry any legal disability or disadvantage, they still may cause problems in your life that you wouldn’t expect.

For example, traffic tickets could lead to your driver’s license being suspended, your car insurance rates to soar, or a heavy financial burden caused by mounting fines. Class C convictions will also be visible by private employers conducting background checks. Maybe that speeding ticket won’t be cause for concern in some jobs, but it could cause problems if you’re looking for a job that involves driving. That public intoxication conviction back in college might come back to bite you when you’re looking for a job. Even a relatively minor Class C theft charge will significantly hurt you in the eyes of almost any potential employer as they question how honest and reliable you are.

Some charges can carry consequences that aren’t even on the radar of most people. For instance, a Class C drug paraphernalia conviction in high school may disqualify you from receiving Federal financial aid for college through FAFSA.

While a Class C conviction isn’t likely to be the end of the world, it can still prove to be problematic for many, which is why you should consider hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney. Not only can they help advise you about your legal rights and responsibilities, but they can ensure that you know the full range of collateral consequences before you take a plea, plead guilty, or No Contest. An attorney will also be able to ensure that the manner is resolved in a way that allows for an expunction so that the conviction no longer appears in your record.

The attorneys at Fears Nachawati are experienced in representing all manner of criminal defense cases, ranging from serious felonies to Class C misdemeanors. You can be assured that we will fight for you and your legal rights, and that no case is too big or too small for us to take on.

Don’t delay in reaching out to the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Fears Nachawati for your free, no obligation legal consultation to discuss the specifics of your case. Please call (866) 705-7584 or visit the offices of Fears Nachawati located throughout the great state of Texas, including in Houston, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, and San Antonio.


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