February 17, 2022
Getting charged with a first offense misdemeanor can be stressful, confusing, and scary. An experienced Texas criminal defense lawyer can help alleviate a lot of that stress by calmly explaining your legal options and assisting you in developing a solid defense strategy.
If you’ve been charged with a first time misdemeanor in Houston, we can help. Contact The Napier Law Firm Today at 1-713-470-4097 for your free consultation with a proven attorney.
This article discusses sentencing for first-time offenders, the likelihood of jail time for a first offense misdemeanor, and the importance of consulting a Texas criminal defense attorney.
What Are The Chances of Going to Jail For a First Time Misdemeanor?
It’s possible for someone convicted of a first offense misdemeanor to go to jail, but not likely. Individuals charged with Class C misdemeanor offenses don’t risk jail time.
If you’re charged with a Class A or Class B misdemeanor, you could face between 180 days to one year in jail. However, working with a skilled criminal defense lawyer in Houston, TX, can significantly increase your chances of a favorable outcome (i.e., no jail time) in your case.
Learn more about misdemeanor classes in Texas below.
Types of Misdemeanors in Texas & Penalties
What are Class A Misdemeanors in Texas? Class A misdemeanors incur the most severe penalties, including possible incarceration up to 365 days, fines not to exceed $4,000, and 24 – 36 months of probation.
Examples of Class A misdemeanors include:
- Cruelty to animals
- Vehicle burglary
- Assault with bodily injury
- Unlawfully carrying a weapon
- Protective order violations
What Are Class B Misdemeanors in Texas? Class B misdemeanors are the second most serious. Penalties can include up to six months in jail, fines up to $2,000, and 24 – 36 months of community supervision.
Examples of Class B misdemeanors include:
- Reckless driving
- Indecent exposure
- Possession of Marijuana (under two ounces)
- First time DUI offense
What Are Class C Misdemeanors in Texas? The least serious offense. Class C misdemeanors do not result in jail time but may incur fines.
Examples of Class C misdemeanors include:
- Traffic violations
- Assault by threat
- Writing bad checks
- Public intoxications
First Time Offenders Programs For Misdemeanor Offenses in Houston
Fortunately, there are options for first time offenders to clear their criminal records and avoid jail time. Listed below are some of the most popular first-offender programs in Texas. Contact The Napier Law Firm to learn more about how to qualify.
Pretrial Diversion Program
Sometimes called pretrial intervention, pretrial diversion programs offer first-time offenders the chance to avoid a misdemeanor conviction. However, individuals enrolled in pretrial diversion programs must meet all eligibility requirements and completion conditions.
Occurs when your Texas criminal defense lawyer “intervenes” with prosecutors before they file formal charges. Your attorney may argue your otherwise clean background, involvement in the community, and that it was a mistake. Sometimes, the prosecution agrees and decides to drop charges.
Deferred Adjudication occurs when the defendant agrees to a plea bargain and is placed on probation. If a first-time offender completes the terms of their probation, their case will be dismissed.
In some cases, first-time offenders can have their case heard in a specialty court. Specialty courts help rehabilitate first-time offenders (usually for drug addiction or alcoholism) in place of all or some jail time. A few of the most common types of specialty courts in Texas include:
- Adult Drug Court
- Family Drug Court
- Veterans Treatment Court
- Mental Health Court
Should I Hire a Lawyer For a Misdemeanor?
You’re not obligated to hire a criminal defense lawyer in Houston. However, it’s recommended. Depending on the circumstances, a conviction for a first time misdemeanor offense can lead to jail time, fines, and a criminal record.
Generally, you should consult a criminal defense attorney if you have questions like:
- Do first time offenders go to jail?
- Will I go to jail for a first offense?
- Can you go to jail for a first time misdemeanor?
- What is sentencing for first time offenders?
- Can a misdemeanor be expunged?
It’s important to note that the consequences of a misdemeanor conviction extend beyond the courtroom. It can lead to difficulties staying gainfully employed, reputational damage, housing issues, and more.
Contact Us Today to Speak With a Criminal Defense Attorney in Houston
If you’re facing first time misdemeanor charges in Houston, TX, you’re not alone. The criminal defense team at Napier Law Firm cares about your future. We will fight for your freedom, your rights, and a clean criminal record.
Don’t risk your future with an inexperienced or overworked attorney. Contact us today to get started on building a solid defense to first offense misdemeanor charges.