At the Sinclair Law Office, sometimes clients seeking our services require assistance in criminal cases. Our experience with family law places us at a unique advantage to help with cases in both family and criminal law because we are familiar with and routinely refer to multiple Texas legal codes. You have probably heard terms such as misdemeanors or felony charges, but you might be wondering, “What exactly do these terms mean? What is the difference?” Essentially, these terms refer to two levels of criminal charges. The major difference between the two is the severity of the offense and the potential punishments and consequences associated with the offense. 

What is a misdemeanor?

Misdemeanors are criminal charges that carry fines and/or a potential jail sentence of up to one year. Jail sentences served for misdemeanors are typically carried out in local or county jails rather than larger state prisons. With a misdemeanor charge, you may incur hefty fines, up to $4,000.00, and/or have to participate in community service. Misdemeanors are categorized into three different classes (A, B, and C) according to the severity of the infraction. Class A and Class B Misdemeanors are considered the most serious misdemeanor charges under Texas law. Being charged with a Class A or B offense (such as DWI, Theft, Possession of Marijuana, or Assault) can remain on your criminal record forever and limit employment, educational, and other opportunities. It is important, then, to avoid a conviction if possible. If you are not convicted, then your record can often be cleared (expunged) or sealed.

What is a felony?

Felonies are criminal charges considered more serious than misdemeanors. Felonies include crimes such as Murder, Child Endangerment, Sexual Assault, Theft of a Firearm, and Aggravated Assault. Felonies typically carry terms that must be served in state prison or state jail, ranging from 180 days to lifetime incarceration, in addition to fines up to $10,000.00. They are categorized into five different levels: Capital Felonies; First-, Second-, or Third-Degree Felonies; and State Jail Felonies. Like misdemeanors, felony charges can often be cleared (expunged) from your record or you can have the records sealed if you were not convicted of the offense. 

The assistance of competent and experienced legal counsel can help you best understand your charges and defenses, while seeking an outcome that minimizes your risk. The Sinclair Law Office is experienced in handling all levels of criminal offenses and may be able to help you in a criminal proceeding if you or a loved one is facing a misdemeanor or felony charge. To see how we can help you with your specific case, schedule a free consultation with us.

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