Types of Criminal Charges and What They Mean for You

August 24th, 2023

Being falsely accused or charged with a crime can be incredibly frightening, and that’s especially true if you don’t understand the charges against you. If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime, keep reading to learn from a San Antonio criminal defense lawyer about the different types of criminal charges you may be facing. 

Infractions or Petty Crimes

An infraction is the least serious type of criminal charge that you can face. In most cases, infractions, also called petty crimes, can’t be punished with jail time. Instead, most infractions lead to fines or community service orders. 

Infractions can be violations of state laws or local laws and ordinances. Texas infractions include things like speeding, parking tickets, noise ordinance violations, and conducting business without the proper licenses.

Misdemeanors

Misdemeanors are the next most serious criminal charge following infractions. While misdemeanors aren’t as severe as felonies, they can carry with them considerable penalties, ranging from community service or fines to house arrest or jail time with a maximum term of less than a year. 

Misdemeanors include everything from public intoxication to burglary of a vehicle (theft of items from a vehicle, not grand theft auto).

Misdemeanors are further broken down into three classes, A, B, and C, with each carrying a different maximum penalty. Class C misdemeanors are the least serious, with Class A being the most serious.

  • Class A Misdemeanors — up to one year in jail, up to $4,000 in fines, or both
  • Class B Misdemeanors — up to 180 days in jail, up to $2,000 in fines, or both
  • Class C Misdemeanors — no jail time, up to $500 in fines

It’s important to note that criminal charges with enhancements can carry steeper penalties. For Class C misdemeanors, for example, enhancements can bump the charge up to a Class B or A misdemeanor, or even a felony in some cases.

Felonies

Finally, felonies are the most serious type of criminal charge a person might face in Texas. These crimes are so serious that, in Texas, they may even lead to the death penalty in the most severe cases. Those who commit felony offenses can be charged with these crimes, along with anyone who aids or abets the felon, either before, during, or after the crime was committed. 

Felonies include crimes ranging from drug distribution and grand theft auto to rape and murder. Like misdemeanors, felonies are further broken down into categories based on their severity. These classes each carry a different maximum penalty, with Class A being the most and Class E being the least severe. 

  • Class A Felonies — life imprisonment or the death penalty
  • Class B Felonies — twenty-five years or more, less than life in prison
  • Class C Felonies — between ten and twenty-five years in prison
  • Class D Felonies — between five and ten years in prison
  • Class E Felonies — between one and five years in prison

Like misdemeanors, felonies can also be moved up a class based on enhancements.

John G. Perez Criminal Defense Attorney: I Fight for You

The criminal justice system is far from simple, and if you’ve been falsely accused or charged with a crime, that complex maze can stand between you and your freedom. A criminal defense lawyer has the knowledge you need to fight for your rights.

If you’ve been falsely accused or charged with a crime in Texas, reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney in San Antonio here at the Law Office of John G. Perez Jr.

If you’ve been falsely charged or accused of a crime, I would be proud to fight for you. Reach out to the Law Office of John G. Perez Jr.

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