Common Examples Of Misdemeanor Offenses
Misdemeanors can attract jail time and fines in Texas. However, they happen to be less common when compared to felony charges. In Texas, misdemeanors don’t include crimes involving major property damage and violence. The most common examples of misdemeanors are discussed below:
DWI as a first offense
The first offense DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) happens to be among the most common misdemeanors in Texas. According to recent statistics by the Texas Department of Transportation, 591 DUI drivers died in 2019, making DWI a critical concern. However, most drivers guilty of DWI as a first offense avoid felony charges if the offense doesn’t involve serious injuries, death, or other offenses such as possession.
First offense DWIs are considered to be Class B misdemeanors punishable with fines not exceeding $2,000 and jail time (up to six months). First offenses can be treated as Class A misdemeanors if the blood alcohol concentration (or BAC) is 0.15 or above. Class A misdemeanors attract fines not exceeding $4,000 and a maximum jail time of a year. First offense DWI convictions can also increase the cost of renewing licenses (by up to $2,000) yearly for three years.
DWI as a second offense
Being caught driving while intoxicated for a second time also qualifies as a misdemeanor in Texas. While a second offense DWI in Texas will attract harsher penalties compared to a first-offense DWI, being caught twice driving while intoxicated doesn’t qualify as a felony.
Second offense DWIs are treated as Class A misdemeanors in Texas, with convictions attracting fines not exceeding $4,000 and a maximum jail term of a year.
Drug possession misdemeanors are also common in Texas. While Texas has some of the harshest drug possession laws, many individuals arrested in possession of small quantities of drugs for the first time face misdemeanor charges. While the penalties for possession in Texas are based mainly on the type of drug and quantity, drug possession charges for small quantities can attract anywhere from 180 days – 2 years jail time and fines not exceeding $10,000. A common drug possession charge i.e., possessing marijuana (up to 2oz), is treated as a Class B misdemeanor.
Domestic violence (or family assault violence) is also on the list of common examples of misdemeanor offenses in Texas. Domestic violence is defined as causing/threatening to cause bodily injury as well as physically contacting someone in ways that are considered offensive/provocative. The persons in question must be related by blood/marriage, have a child together, or qualify as foster parents, foster children, or roommates (persons staying together). First-time domestic violence cases are treated as Class A misdemeanors.
Theft charges also account for the majority of misdemeanors in Texas. Most theft charges in Texas are Class A, B, or C charges. Theft is considered a Class C misdemeanor in Texas if it involves property less than $50. Theft is considered a Class B misdemeanor in Texas if it involves property valued between $50 and $500. Theft involving property valued between $500 or more (not exceeding $1,500) is treated as a class A misdemeanor.