Criminal charges in Texas are broken down into two categories: misdemeanor and felony offenses. A felony is any crime that carries a possible prison sentence of more than one year. People jailed for a felony serve their sentence in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (state prison or state jail facility).
On the other hand, a misdemeanor is any crime that carries a possible jail sentence of up to one year. People jailed for a misdemeanor conviction serve their sentence in the county jail.
Generally, misdemeanor offenses involve shorter probation lengths, less strict probation conditions, and lower fines.
So if you’re charged with a misdemeanor, what types of charges could you be facing?
Types of Misdemeanor Charges
Misdemeanor offenses are divided into three classifications:
- Fine Only Class C Misdemeanors – commonly referred to as tickets or citations. These are punishable by a fine of up to $500 and no jail time.
- Class B Misdemeanors – punishable by up to 180 days (6 months) in the county jail and a fine of up to $2,000.
- Class A Misdemeanors – punishable by up to 1 year in the county jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
Defending Misdemeanor Charges in Dallas
The prosecutor is in charge of proving their allegation with evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor cannot rule out each and every possible reasonable doubt, you are not guilty. That’s because of something called the presumption of innocence – you are presumed innocent and only convicted if the prosecutor can prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.
This basically means you don’t have to prove that you didn’t do it. You don’t have to prove anything!
The only way the prosecution wins is if the jury believes their story is the only reasonable way it could’ve happened.
If the jury/judge has any reasonable doubts that it actually happened, they must find you not guilty.
If they reasonably think it could’ve happened another way, they must find you not guilty.
This is the highest burden of proof in our justice system. When implemented by a skilled Dallas misdemeanor attorney, it can be a powerful weapon.
So now, how do you find the right lawyer to represent you?
Choosing the Right Misdemeanor Lawyer in Dallas
Searching for misdemeanor lawyers in Dallas can be overwhelming. After all, you are choosing someone who will hold your life, your future, and your family’s future in their hands.
You have to be comfortable with them and feel that you can trust the information and advice they give you. Lawyers are supposed to always work in their clients’ best interests. That shouldn’t just be meaningless talk.
The steps below will help you make sure you find the best lawyer for you.
First, talk to several lawyers to get a feel for them and their staff. Do they take the time necessary to get to know you, to listen to what’s important to you, and answer your questions?
Second, do they show you that you matter to them as a person and not just as a fee? This could be as simple as taking the time to understand your case and what is important to you. It could be as simple as the feeling you get from them – are they just selling you their services or do they seem to really care?
Third, beware of lawyers who put the hard sell on you, who make big promises. No lawyer should ever make a guarantee about a case.
Finally, absolutely avoid a lawyer who doesn’t communicate the scope of the work and their fee clearly in a written engagement agreement or contract.
If you or someone you love is facing a misdemeanor charge, you need an experienced Dallas misdemeanor lawyer. You could be looking at jail time, steep fines, and a permanent criminal record. Moreover, these cases can cause damage to your reputation and your career path.
If you are a licensed professional, you may have even more at stake. A misdemeanor could put your professional license, and therefore your livelihood, in jeopardy. Book a FREE consultation with our office today.