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What is a Class A Misdemeanor?

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A Class A misdemeanor is the is the most serious non-felony offense. Depending on the state where you are arrested, the penalty for a Class A misdemeanor is a fine or jail time or both. Examples of Class A misdemeanor offenses include reckless operation of a vehicle, unlawful restraint unless the person restrained is under age 17, public lewdness, certain types of assault, deadly conduct that places another in danger of serious bodily injury, terroristic threat committed against a person family or against a public servant, and harboring a runaway child.

Most misdemeanors are classified as such based on the maximum length of incarceration. When a crime has a jail term of under one year it is generally classified as a misdemeanor, though as with any offense, the severity and nature of the crime, as well as any aggravating circumstances can enhance the classification, jail term and fine amount. The history and character of the defendant as well as any mitigating circumstances can reduce the classification, jail term and amount fined.

In cases of property damage or theft, whether the crime is classified as a misdemeanor or felony is based on the actual value of the property.

Class A Misdemeanor Offenses In Texas

  • A Class A misdemeanor is punishable with a fine of up to $4,000 and/or a jail term of up to one year. If the defendant has a prior Class A misdemeanor or any felony conviction his punishment will be enhanced up to a $4,000 fine and a jail term of at least 90 days but not more than a year, or both fine and jail time.
  • If the crime is committed because of bias or prejudice (hate crimes) the punishment is enhanced to a minimum jail term of 180 days.
  • Defendants face an enhanced penalty if a controlled substance is used to commit the offense of a minimum jail term of 180 days.
  • A corporation can be penalized up to $50,000 if the crime results a person suffers serious bodily injury or death.
  • Attempted crimes are punished at one category lower than the class of crime. So an attempted felony crime that would be punishable with a jail term could be punished as a Class A misdemeanor.

*The laws and penalties regarding misdemeanor classes and offenses vary for each state, however Texas law presents a fair and clear representation of penal law, and is used in this article to offer a basic understanding of the Class A misdemeanor. The information contained in this article should not be construed as legal advice, and those accused of any misdemeanor should seek legal counsel immediately.

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