The Process | Misdemeaners | Felonies


Misdemeanors are generally broken down into Classes A, B and C.

Class C Misdemeanors

Class C misdemeanors are things like traffic tickets, MIP’s, PI’s, drug paraphernalia or bad checks under $20. They usually reside in Justice or Municipal Courts and carry no jail time. Fines usually range from $0 to $1,000. Defendants are entitled to jury trials in these courts.

Class B Misdemeanors

Things such as first time DWI’s or possession of marijuana. Punishment ranges are from $0 to $2,000 and up to 6 months in the county jail.

Class A Misdemeanors

Things such as 2nd DWI’s, assault, family violence, theft over $1500 or illegal weapons possession. Punishments range from $0 to $4,000 fine and up to 1 year in the county jail. If you are currently on probation or have deferred adjudication and a motion to revoke or adjudicate has been filed it will go back into that same court and at the same level to which it was originally plead . Class A and B Misdemeanors are heard at the County Court Level. In Harris County there are 15 County Courts at Law and in Montgomery County there are 4 County Courts. As a general rule, Misdemeanor charges are not subject to being heard by a grand jury and are instead referred by a police agency to the criminal justice system. The case then proceeds on a charging instrument called an information, which is really just a piece of paper identifying the defendant, the charges, and the jurisdiction. You are entitled to a jury trial in all misdemeanors and to have your attorney confront and cross-examine your accusers and to present all your defenses.


Felonies are categorized generally by degree. 

First Degree Felonies

Murder, very large thefts, aggravated assault with serious bodily injury, sexual offenses, possession and/or distribution of large amounts of drugs, etc.  This is true jeopardy, punishable by 5 to 99 years or life and up to a $10,000 fine.  Under some conditions, the punishment may include serving half the time before parole.

Second Degree Felonies

Some sexual offenses, thefts in a certain range, drug possession in certain ranges, manslaughter, etc..  These are punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.  Again, under some circumstances, the punishment may include serving half the time before parole.

Third degree felonies

Third DWI’s, thefts in a certain range, aggravated assault, drug possession in a certain range, etc. These are punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.  Once more, under certain circumstances, the punishment may include serving half the time before parole.

State Jail Felonies

Usually drug possession in certain ranges, theft in certain ranges, etc.  These are punishable by day-for-day time in a state jail facility (as opposed to TDC general population or maximum security) from 6 months to 2 years.  No parole here.

With these punishment ranges you can see why you need experienced, quality legal representation!

Charges for felonies can be processed in a multitude of ways but are generally brought by police officers.  However, they can come from private individuals who have referred their allegations to police agencies or the District Attorney’s Office.  Felony cases can be reviewed and accepted or discharged by the grand jury or by the judge at something called an examining trial.  Before reaching a grand jury, felonies can proceed to disposition just on the original charging instrument via an information, which, as in misdemeanors is really just a piece of paper identifying the defendant, the charges and the jurisdiction).


Again there simply isn’t room on this site to discuss the multitude of defenses that exist for the multitude of charges.  The best defense, of course, is pure innocence, but even that can be difficult to prove.  On drug charges it might be the search or the stop itself or any number of other issues.  On DWI’s, it might be the stop, the level of intoxication, the Intoxilizer itself or even the assertion of a right to lawyer.  The best way to discuss your defense is to call (281) 350-3900 and ask to speak to a lawyer.  The phone is answered 24 hours a day and, if we’re not in, or if it’s after hours, one of us will get right back with you.