Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Classes of Misdemeanor Offenses in Texas

Criminal offenses in Texas are divided into two main categories, felonies and misdemeanors.  Misdemeanors are considered lesser crimes than felonies and are divided into three classes based on the degree of seriousness of the offense and the severity of the punishments.  It is important to take misdemeanor charges seriously, because having a misdemeanor conviction on your record can impact your life in many negative ways.  You may have difficult time getting the job you want, being admitted to an institution of higher education, or even obtaining an occupational license.

Class C Misdemeanors

Class C misdemeanors are considered the least serious type of criminal offense in Texas.  A Class C misdemeanor conviction carries a punishment of a fine of up to $500.  Community service in addition to or in place of the fine is at the judge’s discretion.  A common example of a Class C misdemeanor is a traffic offense that results in a traffic ticket.  Other types of Class C misdemeanor offenses include:

Disorderly conduct
Public intoxication
Bad checks
Simple assault
Criminal trespass
Bail jumping
Leaving a child in a vehicle
Petty theft such as shoplifting
Possession of alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle
Driving under the influence of alcohol by a minor
Minor in possession of alcohol
Minor in possession of tobacco

Class B Misdemeanors

Class B misdemeanors are considered more serious than Class C misdemeanors and carry punishments of a fine of up to $2000, and/or a jail sentence of up to 180 days.  The court may also impose a maximum of two years of community supervision (adult probation)* or three years of community supervision with an extension.

Examples of Class B misdemeanors include:

DWI (Driving while intoxicated) first offense
Terroristic threat
Criminal trespass
Evading arrest on foot
False report to a police officer and false 911 calls
Child enticement
Failure to pay child support
Indecent exposure
Minor drug possession

Class A Misdemeanors

Class A misdemeanors are the most serious type of misdemeanor offense in Texas.  Conviction of a Class A misdemeanor carries punishments of a fine of up to $4000 and/or imprisonment of up to one year in a county jail.  The court may also impose a maximum of two years of community supervision (adult probation)*, or three years of community supervision with an extension.

Example of Class A misdemeanors include:

DWI (second offense)
Assault with bodily injury
Burglary of a vehicle or vending machine
Possession of two to four ounces of marijuana
Unlawful carrying of a weapon
Gambling promotion
Violation of protective orders
Cruelty to animals
Public lewdness
Resisting arrest
Unlawful restraint

* Community Supervision as defined by the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure:

The placement of a defendant by a court under a continuum of programs and sanctions, with conditions imposed by the court for a specified period during which: (a) criminal proceedings are deferred without an adjudication of guilt; or (b) a sentence of imprisonment or confinement, imprisonment and fine, or confinement and fine, is probated and the imposition of sentence is suspended in whole or in part.

Misdemeanor Repeat Offenses

For some misdemeanors in Texas, a second or additional offense is charged as a more severe misdemeanor or as a felony.  For example, a first offense DWI is charged as a Class B misdemeanor.  If the same person commits a second DWI, he or she can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor.  A third DWI offense is charged as a Third Degree felony.

Deferred Adjudication

Deferred adjudication may be available as a sentencing alternative for misdemeanor offenses.  Deferred adjudication does not mean that a defendant has  been found not guilty of the offense, but  it is also not a conviction.  It is a plea bargain agreement with the criminal court where judgment is deferred pending the outcome of a probation period.  If the defendant is granted deferred adjudication and successfully completes the probation and any other conditions assigned by the court, the charges will be dismissed.  The defendant must enter a plea of either “guilty” or “no contest” to receive deferred adjudication.  For Class A and Class B misdemeanors, the court may grant up to 2 years deferred adjudication.  Although there is no formal probation, for Class C misdemeanors a type of deferred disposition period is available.

Misdemeanor Expungement

Having an arrest record expunged means that a person no longer has the obligation to state the offense on paper, but must still do so under oath.  Class C misdemeanors can be expunged in certain circumstances, if certain requirements are met including community supervision and deferred disposition.  In Texas, some records can be sealed instead of expunged.  A sealed record means that the public cannot view the record unless it is called for in court proceedings.  For Class A and Class B misdemeanors, the records can sometimes be sealed after the defendant has completed a period of deferred adjudication.
Author: Andrew Sullo
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68 comments on article "Classes of Misdemeanor Offenses in Texas"

Wendell Ramclam

4/8/2013 3:30 AM

Good evening. I paid a company that is not in Texas to get my record sealed or expunged. It was back in 2002 that I was in a domestic dispute, taken to jail and paid a fine. How do I get this off my records? I have stopped drinking ever since the incident, still married and have two children now. Spent 11 more years in the military but to join the Texas Air National Guard would require my records clean. Right now I cannot carry arms or even purchase them. Please advise on what can be done.


4/8/2013 9:02 PM

I don't know how one can get a traffic ticket when you are traveling on the freeway doing 65 and then come to darn near a stop on an exit to 35 mph. You would darn near have to lock up your brakes and cause an accident. I was told that the class c misdemeanor stays on your record for 7 years. I am a class b cdl driver so, I'm pretty much screwed.

Andrew Sullo

5/9/2013 1:16 PM

Unfortunately, you have very few options as a driver with a commercial driver's license known as a CDL. Law firms that focus in CDL cases will typically find a way to get the case dismissed based on a technical defect in the complaint. If no defect exists, the only other option is to go to trial. If you are a commerical driver, your livelyhood is at stake and you should be very wary of which firm you choose. Despite what they say, most firms try very few cases and end up entering pleas which devestate CDL driving records. No firm has tried more cases at the City Of Houston Municipal Court than Sullo & Sullo Attorney in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. My belief is that you can't win if you don't go to trial.

Kim P

5/9/2013 4:41 PM

If someone was arrested as a felony, but after court proceedings, charged with a Class A Misdemeanor; is there any way to get that expunged or sealed? It has been 15years since the sentencing and fine paid. It keeps coming up on background checks as a felony rather than the charged Class A Misd.

Andrew Sullo

5/10/2013 10:52 AM

We would need to know exactly what the final disposition was. If you were originally charged with a felony and eventually did a deferred on a Class A and finished it successfully, then, yes, we could get an order of non-disclosure. If you took a straight conviction on the Class A, then it's a final conviction and, therefore, you would be ineligible for either expunction or non-disclosure.


5/10/2013 6:33 PM

I got arrested about 6 years ago and was charged with criminal mischief misdemeanor A, the case got dismissed because my now husband never pressed charges ( his cousin called the cops on me after I keyed my husbands truck at her home), but now it comes out on my record and I have had a lot of trouble getting a job in the field I am going to college for. What can I do

Andrew Sullo

5/10/2013 8:05 PM

Based on the facts you have presented and assuming the original misdemeanor A violation occurred in Texas, we could file a Petition for Non-Disclosure to prevent this information from being seen on your record. It is always good to have events like this taken off the criminal record whenever possible as it effects work and school opportunities.

Mary Lewis

5/21/2013 8:02 PM

My boyfriend told me I got a notice in the mail that i have 2 warrants for my arrest from a traffic incident a few months ago. I'm currently in Europe taking care of a family member but my question is when I return to America, will have a problem at customs? Since they are Class C misdemeanors would i be okay to return, or do I need to pay those fines before returning home?

Martin Acevedo

5/22/2013 10:50 AM

My girlfriend has been attending college for the past two years and is about to finish her Bachelors degree in accounting and business. Recently she applied for a job at chase bank as a over the phone bank teller, the job was giving to her after a 2 hour face to face interview and was assigned to start on the 30 of June till then she had to to go under a drug test and a background test. Drug test was passed but then just yesterday she received a email from the company regarding a incident that happen when she was 17yrs of a misdemeanor class C (shoplifting) she's 24 and turning 25 this October. She was then asked to show documentation of the incident and all paper that showed she had went through court and probation, that same day she received a call from the company and was removed from the job due to the background. Its been 7 years since the misdemeanor, during those 7years she's been in good behavior and clean, she regrets doing a immature and stupid act and knows she did wrong. Due to the misdemeanor she has doubt and questions of her plans to finish her degree and pursue a job in that field, she come unsure of what to do or what can be done ? Any tips on how this misdemeanor can be expurged? What is recommend to do?

Andrew Sullo

5/22/2013 12:10 PM

TSA normally checks passport data with FBI and Homeland Security Databases in order to detain people. The do have the ability to check data with local warrant data, but I have not heard of an incident where an individual has been stopped due to traffic warrants. Having said that, to avoid any possibility of being detained I would recommend either posting a bond and removing the arrest warrant before you travel. We can Fedex documents to you that need to be signed and take care of this if the warrants are in Houston. You can also pay the fines with the court, however this will put all the moving violations on your record and could cause difficulty with your license down the road.

Andrew Sullo

5/22/2013 12:22 PM

Regarding trying to clean the record of a Misdemeanor C shoplifting case from 7 years ago, we can expunge the record if the case was dismissed at court or if the case received Deferred Adjudication and successful completion with dismissal. If the case received a guilty plea or 'nolo contendere'/no contest plea, unfortunately the violation cannot come of the record. If you are unsure what the final outcome was for the violation, please contact us and we can investigate it and let you know.

Steve Cortes

6/7/2013 7:57 PM

I have two class B Misdemeanors. Both for first offense DWI. The first was in 2002, the second in 2008. I told them in 2008 that this was my second offense. The deputy told me they could not charge me with a secod due to my first did not show up on his computer. So I have two class b's on record. I have been sober 4 years. I would like to apply for a CHL. I know I wont be awarded one with class b's on my record. Can I expunge or seal?

Andrew Sullo

6/11/2013 11:25 AM

In order to have Class B Misdemeanors expunged or sealed, it depends on how the cases were disposed of. If you plead guilty and had final convictions on the violations, you are not eligible for an expunction or to seal. If any of the Class B's were dismissed or you were acquitted by a judge or jury, then we can expunge the records. If you received a deferred adjudication or similar probation and finished successfully, we could seal the records. We need to know exactly how the cases were disposed of to give you the precise answer.


6/14/2013 10:38 PM

I rec'd a ticket for stealing drinks and food while I was in college. The fine was somewhere around $250. This is roughly about 4 years ago. When potential employers go and complete a background check, will this show up? Should this be a big concern of mine? Am I obligated to list this on my application? or Should I treat this like a traffic citation and not list it? PLease advise.


6/15/2013 2:35 PM

I am graduating college with a BBA in a few months and I am skeptical about finding a good job. In 2009, I did some dumb things and I got 2 misdemeanors on my belt. Class C Misdemeanor for Theft and Class B Misdemeanor for Failure to Identify. For the Class C, I plead guilty not knowing what was going on and paid a fine. For the Class B, I got a lawyer and was put on deferred adjudication for 1 year. Its now 2013, and I have not been in any trouble since then. I wanted to know what my chances/options for expungement or non-disclosure (for each offense).

ana igleasias

6/18/2013 5:09 AM

I have a misdemeanor A while working at Walgreens and i didnt check id on a customer and come to know she was underaged. This is tha only offense i have along with ticket for no insurance. Does my sentence have to be jail time or can i just pay fines and be on probation or community service?

Andrew Sullo

6/21/2013 10:55 AM

With a clear criminal history, either time served and a fine or some type of probation to keep it off of your record are definitely the more likely scenarios. Deferred adjudication followed by an order of non-disclosure is one option. The other is pre-trial intervention followed by an expunction. Which to go for depends on one's future plans. If someone wants to get into a career requiring licensing, pre-trial intervention followed by expunction is the only way to keep it from licensing boards.

Independent Staff Writer

6/21/2013 11:00 AM

Paying the fine on stealing food and drinks is a final conviction and cannot be expunged or sealed. Most applications ask "Have you ever been charged, arrested or convicted of a criminal offense, other than a traffic violation?" The only way to legally deny its existence is after expunction. I would err on the side of disclosing it. If an employer somehow finds out about it and sees you lied on your job application about a theft conviction, your chances of landing that job just dropped to 0.

Andrew Sullo

6/21/2013 11:05 AM

For a class C Theft which a fine was paid on, the theft is a final conviction and, therefore, cannot be expunged or sealed. However, depending on the court, there may not be a record of it anymore. You should run a background check on yourself and see if it shows up. For the Class B where you completed a deferred adjudication, you are eligible for a petition for non-disclosure to seal it.


6/26/2013 7:22 PM

I am from Venezuela. In 2010 I traveled to Houston and received a Public Intoxication charge. I declare myself guilty (because I was walking drunk on a street). How can I check my background record? Is there any website that can give me that info? I am not an American citizen! Where can i check if i have a background?

Andrew Sullo

6/27/2013 11:44 AM

Employers use a wide range of different services to look up a persons criminal record, notably ADP. The issue in your case is that your information will be listed under your name and date of birth and not a Social Security Number or Drivers License Number since it sounds like you were visiting the US. In this case, it may be easiest to contact an attorney who can pull the actual file at the court you were arrested at and give you a copy of the record.


7/21/2013 9:34 PM

I recently had a small accident on a highway. I had hit a truck from behind. Even though I maintained a safe distance, I was not able to completely stop my car. My hood got a small dent and nothing happened to the truck in front of me. The police officer gave me a Class C Misdemeanor. What should I do? I never indulge in any kind of wrong activities.

Andrew Sullo

7/22/2013 10:47 AM

Accidents happen everyday. Usually one or both parties in the accident will receive a Class C Misdemeanor traffic ticket. Accident ticket convictions are particularly damaging to the driving record as they are used by insurance companies to greatly increase insurance rates. Over time, an accident conviction on the driving record can cost a driver thousands of dollars in increased insurance premiums.

I recommend hiring an attorney and fighting all of these kinds of cases. If your ticket comes from a court house in and around the Houston Area, Baytown, Pasadena, Sugarland, Missouri City, South Houston, Harris County - please feel free to call us. We will appear for you at your arraignment and be with you for all other court settings. If your case requires a trial, we usually handle them at no additional charge to your representation which is a flat fee for traffic tickets. We have tried more cases at the City of Houston Courts than any other law firm in the last several years and we would be glad to try your case if it is necessary. Usually our cases resolve to our clients' liking without the need for trial because the prosecutor's office knows we are willing to go to trial to protect our client's driving record.


7/26/2013 5:02 PM

My fiance and I got into an argument after a Rangers game and a night of drinking. He pushed me. I did not press charges but the police officers gave him a Misdemeanor C ticket. What is the best way to keep this off his record? Thanks

Andrew Sullo

7/26/2013 5:15 PM

It is very important that you keep a violation like this off your record as it can have serious implications on future employment, school admissions, or possible immigration consequences depending on your status in the country. We would handle this case as we do with all of our other Class C Misdemeanors and work for a dismissal at court on your behalf. You would need to call us with the court location information BEFORE you first court appearance so that we can move that date to an appropriate setting if necessary. We do handle these types of cases all the time and have a great deal of experience getting them dismissed or going to trial.


7/30/2013 2:10 PM

I was going through a divorce and separation of a joint bank account. I wrote out a check in 2009 like always to pay for child's day care. I had no idea that the monies had not been taking out yet. My husband at the time took money out of the joint account and we both opened different accounts. We moved so therefore I never received notice of the check not going through. Low and behold in 2011 I got pulled over and informed of a warrant for my arrest. They took me to jail and I bonded out. I went to court paid what was owed and charge was dismissed. Will this affect my getting a job as a correctional officer at a juvenile detention center? What can I do to get it off my records?

Andrew Sullo

7/30/2013 4:31 PM

If it was dismissed, you can have the arrest record expunged. Without getting the expunction done, it would show up on a background check and likely preclude you from becoming a corrections officer.

Melissa Melendez

8/2/2013 1:26 AM

I was caught shoplifting and it was under $50. They gave me a ticket and told me I had to schedule a court day. I do not know what my next step should be. Should I plead guilty, non guilty, or no consent? They clearly have evidence of me shoplifting! I want to know if I can get it removed from my record somehow?

Andrew Sullo

8/2/2013 1:37 PM

If you are accused of shoplifting, you should definitely hire an attorney before pleading. There are many ways an experienced attorney can handle the case to get it dismissed or keep it from being placed on the criminal record. Especially if there is a video, an attorney should be hired from the very initial stages before ever going to court as there may be possible solutions that may not be available at future court settings.


8/28/2013 2:42 AM

I received a DWI and was on the divert program. I violated the terms of the divert and was kicked off the program and given 1 year probation. After I am done with my probation, can I get this sealed or somehow taken off my record?

Andrew Sullo

8/28/2013 2:15 PM

Unfortunately, once you violate the terms of the Divert, the DWI goes on your record as a final conviction. An expunction or petition for non-disclosure is not available to remove or seal your record.


8/29/2013 11:04 AM

I received a ticket for an assault by contact. I went to the court and the Judge gave me the following options: 1. paying the ticket or 2. a new court date to dispute the charge. I chose to dispute the charge. Do I need an attorney? What can I do? Thanks for all your help!

Andrew Sullo

8/29/2013 11:16 AM

An assault will appear on your criminal record if you are convicted of it. By paying the ticket, you would receive this conviction. It is very good that you chose to go to court in a few months. This is a violation that may affect your opportunities with jobs and schools. I would like to stress the importance of contacting an attorney to help keep this off your record.

Juan Garza

9/3/2013 6:50 AM

Recently, I was arrested and charged with a Class A misdemeanor for furnishing alcohol to a minor. My 18 year old son had a party at my house and the police came to quiet them down. Once the police realized that alcohol was being consumed by minors they arrested and charged me. This is my first arrest ever, not even a speeding ticket. I have not been convicted yet, but what should I expect from the judge? Will they really send me to prison? How long before I go to trial, this happened just 2 weeks ago?

Fred R

9/6/2013 3:02 AM

I have a court date coming up in October for a Misdemeanor C(assault by contact) citation. Can I plea bargain that charge to a non-assault charge(traffic ticket, littering etc)What are my options so that I won't get this on my record? I'd rather get this over with. Thanks in advance for your help.

Andrew Sullo

9/6/2013 10:27 AM

Plea bargaining a charge is largely dependent on the prosecutor, the facts surrounding the case, and the skill of your attorney. When an attorney attempts to plead to another charge, typically it is to plead to a lesser offense. By way of example, felony robbery may be plea bargained down to misdemeanor theft. With a Misdemeanor C, there is no lesser level of offense. Our strategy on a case like this would try for a straight out dismissal of the charge, some sort of probation on the case that would eliminate it from your record, or in many cases a trial. Assault cases always have outside witnesses that are used to present the prosecuting district attorney's case. It has been my experience that the outside witnesses are not always that credible with potential bias. For this reason, the prosecutor may have elected a class C misdemeanor as opposed to a class A misdemeanor assault, which further shows weakness in the prosecutor's case. These are all factors to consider.

Sam Neils

9/14/2013 6:48 PM

I had a forge document Class B Misdemeanor in Texas in 1985. The disposition was that I had to pay a $200 fine and serve 2 days in county jail. There were no probation. I completed this back in 1985. I would like to know if I can have this class B Misdemeanor record sealed or set aside, since expunction is not an option. Thanks so much for your help.

Constanzo E

9/15/2013 9:31 PM

I was arrested and charged with prostitution. I am currently doing the pretrial diversion program under a one year probation. What happens after I complete successfully the pretrial diversion program? Is it possible to expunge this charge, and how long do I have to wait?Thank You.

Andrew Sullo

9/16/2013 12:34 PM

Unfortunately, since there was a final conviction, there would be no way to remove, seal, get an expunction, or receive a petition for non-disclosure on this violation.

Andrew Sullo

9/16/2013 12:38 PM

Assuming your Pretrial Diversion for the violation was in Harris County, the standard pre-trial diversion contract calls for a two-year waiting period after the case is dismissed before you can file for the expunction. We could handle this for you, but you would need to wait for 2 years after the diversion is complete and the dismissal is done.

Sam Neils

9/16/2013 7:51 PM

Thanks so much for your help. The only concern I have is that the disposition had my first name mispelled. Is that technical issue? Or can we challenge that the court was rushing to a final verdict.

Andrew Sullo

9/17/2013 5:13 PM

I would need to know exactly how the case was disposed. If the case was dismissed or acquitted, I could get it expunged for you. If you received a deferred adjudication with no subsequent charges, I could have it sealed. If there was a guilty plea or a finding of guilt by judge or jury, it would be a final conviction and nothing can be done.


10/8/2013 8:26 PM

If a person on probation in Texas received a littering ticket in a different state will it affect anything? The state where he got the ticket said the information will not go on any records and will stay in that cities court house. Please advise! Thanks for your help


10/12/2013 10:32 AM

I was detained for shoplifting - under $50. They said it was a ticket and that I needed to go to court. Will I pay a fine? Will this be on my record? Also, this occurred in the dressing room. Isn't it illegal to videotape in the dressing room?

Andrew Sullo

10/14/2013 12:17 PM

Shoplifting for less than $50 is usually a class C misdemeanor and generally written as theft charge. Notably, petty theft, shoplifting, and check fraud are all crimes of moral turpitude. The significance of this is that they can have a huge impact on the criminal record and immigration matters. Further, it can limit future employment and school opportunities. There is a fine associated with this violation (usually $200 plus court cost or more depending on the jurisdiction) as well as the effect on the record. An attorney can help find ways to keep it off your record or go to trial on the case to avoid the conviction.
Cameras are allowed in most areas where there is no expectation of privacy. Dressing rooms have an expectation of personal privacy and thus would not have cameras in there. There are cameras usually positioned just outside of the dressing room to track all the items and individuals that went in and out of the dressing room.

Andrew Sullo

10/14/2013 3:04 PM

To determine if a Texas probation is effected by an out-of-state ticket, one must look at the exact terms of the probation. Typically, most Texas probations are only violated if the motorist violates the laws of the State of Texas. If, however, the terms of the probation reference a violation of the laws of the United States, then technically, the probation would be violated causing likely conviction of the violation that was the subject of the probation.

LD Baggs

11/9/2013 1:21 AM

I was arrested and charged with a Class B Misdemeanor Possession <1 oz. This was reduced to a Class C Misdemeanor and adjudicated. I completed the "probation" period and paid the $500 fine. Will the arrest record and adjudication prohibit me from receiving State Certification as a teacher in Texas? If the record is expunged, will it still show up on the TEA background check? And, will the record continue to show up on background checks done in compliance with school district job applications?

Andrew Sullo

11/12/2013 4:05 PM

In your question, you stated it "it was reduced to a Class C and adjudicated". It depends on how it was adjudicated to determine the effect on your record. If you received a deferred adjudication on a Class C misdemeanor and completed it successfully, an expunction would be possible and not even the teaching board would be able to see it. If the Class C misdemeanor was a final conviction, then there is no way to get it expunged and it would be on your record forever.

Kris Reid

11/14/2013 3:23 PM

In 2011 I received a Class C Misdemeanor for public intoxication (minor) in Huntsville. I am a British citizen and had to leave the US only a couple of days later. As a result I now have two bench warrants for missing my court date. This is an issue I would like to deal with, although I am reluctant to return to the United States and face possible arrest at customs. Is there a solution whereby the warrants and original offense could be dealt with without my actually having to be there? Any help would be much appreciated.

Andrew Sullo

11/14/2013 5:22 PM

There are a few different ways to handle this situation. First, we could post bonds on your case in order to remove the warrants. When this happens, a new court date is issued which would require your attendance. Once the warrants are removed, you would have no issues at customs and would not be subject to arrest. As an alternative, we could post the bonds and then with a Power of Attorney (POA) we could negotiate a deal on your behalf. This may be more convenient for you in that you would not need to return to the US but we may not be able to keep the violation off your permanent record. Also, there would likely be a fine or probation cost with the court if you are not present.

Victoria N

11/15/2013 8:13 PM

I was 16 at the time I received my first ticket for going the wrong direction on a road. I did defensive driving and it is off my record. Afterwards, I received a speeding ticket and just paid for the ticket and the violation is now appearing on my record. Now, 5 months passed and I turned 17. I just received another speeding ticket For 62 in a 45. What should I do? Should I hire an attorney to try and get Deferred Adjudication so it won't go on my record? What is the chance that I will get Deferred Adjudication? I don't want to pay for an attorney and not get it and they ticket still go on my record. What should I do?

Andrew Sullo

11/18/2013 12:40 PM

We always recommend hiring a lawyer when you go to court. The primary reason you would hire an attorney is not for deferred adjudication, but rather to get the case dismissed. Dismissal is available on a high percentage of cases because an experienced attorney that handles these matters will be able to spot technical defects and issues with a ticket in order to get it thrown out. Also, and attorney ads the added benefit of being able to effectively go to trial and maximize your chances for success. As a backup, deferred adjudication is an option. Given the scenario you have talked about, I believe deferred adjudication would be available to you with an attorney. But before we go down that road, it is a possibility we can get your case dismissed without having to do the deferred adjudication. Also, we always tell people to hire an attorney on every case because you don't want to start taking deferred adjudication on a case that would otherwise have been dismissed with an attorney, only to find that you receive another traffic ticket which ruins your deferred.


11/19/2013 10:05 PM

A CDL holder received a traffic ticket for improper lane change and a Mitchell County Court deferred adjudication for 90 days. After the 90 days the Court entered an Order of dismissal of Complaint against defendant. My question is would that constitute a misdemeanor? Does that appear/show up on a background check? How does it appear? Does the defendant have to answer yes as to the question if he has ever committed an offense or crime? Does it mean he has a misdemeanor on his record? Does he need to seal the records, or what is the remedy? Is this bad, does it need to be addressed? Thank you so much! Any input is much appreciated.

Andrew Sullo

11/21/2013 5:41 PM

Technically, a CDL driver is not eligible for a deferred adjudication. However, assuming that a deferred was received and the case was dismissed, you would be eligible to get it expunged since it was a class C Misdemeanor. Most questions are phrased, "Have you ever been arrested, charged or convicted of a criminal offense, other than a traffic violation?" How you should answer depends on the exact wording of the question. If it includes anything, including traffic, then, yes, you would need to disclose it and explain the outcome. If you get it expunged, you can legally answer no to the question. If you are a CDL holder, your driving record is extremely relevant to your line of work. An expunction in this instance has a lot of value.


11/22/2013 1:41 AM

An immigration related form asks "Have you ever been arrested, cited or detained by any law enforcement officer?" Instructions state to include traffic tickets if the fine is above $500.00. The Court Order stated $350 special assessment fee and $197.10 court fee. Together it is over $500. Does the court in Texas consider the fine just the special assessment fee? Or does the "fine" include the court cost too?Do you handle expunction for Mitchell County, and how much would it cost?


11/22/2013 2:22 PM

I am from out of state and was given a citation for a speeding ticket in TX. I was told my options were to pay the fine or fight it. I am fighting it because I was being tailgated by a tractor trailer and felt I was in a life or death situation. I truly feel that I made the right decision in the moment and no one was injured. Travelling back to Texas includes taking a flight, staying overnight and renting a car. As I have gone back and forth with the prosecutor’s office, over the phone, I feel extremely intimidated by this process. I have heard accounts of contesting a ticket and the process sounds like it was between the defendant and the judge. However, the prosecutor kept saying that I could face a judge or jury, that I would be cross examined during a trial, etc… He treated it as though it was as serious as a murder trial. I chose to have a “Trial by Court” and just present my case to a judge. I feel the less involved is better. However my phone conversation was very intimidating and feel somewhat that TX is taking this much more seriously than other states normally would. Although I feel my case is strong – what is the general outcome in the TX courts for a situation like mine? Do judge’s take into consideration the effort made on my part to travel all the way there to speak the truth in my split second decision? They keep talking about paying the fine is essentially admitting guilt. If found guilty what are the ramifications of this? Will this just affect me on a local TX level – like say if I was to try and get a license in TX, this would come up? Or will this affect me on a more national or federal level, where if I went to renew my license in my home state, this would come up? Do Class C misdemeanor offenses like this show up on anything else besides a driving record? I mean – could something like this show up on a basic background check and if so would it show up saying “Guilty of a Class C Misdemeanor”, which could clearly be misconstrued as something more serious than a speeding ticket? Any advice on my situation is greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!

Andrew Sullo

11/25/2013 7:25 PM

First, let me express my sincere sympathy about the frightening circumstances that led to your receiving a traffic citation. I am likewise sorry to hear that the court process has been intimidating. Sullo & Sullo attorneys purposefully position ourselves between you and the prosecutor to shield you from feeling intimidated by the court process. You asked several important questions. Let me address them one-by-one:What is the general outcome in the Texas courts for a situation like mine?When it comes to traffic cases in Texas no case is exactly like the other so it is hard to predict a “general outcome” for any one traffic ticket. However, it appears that at least part of your question is whether it is better to request a “Trial by Judge” or a “Trial by Jury.” At Sullo & Sullo, unless a client specifically requests otherwise, our lawyers will set your case to a “Jury Trial” setting. Why a “Jury Trial?” As Thomas Jefferson aptly stated, “I consider trial by jury the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.” In short, a jury trial helps to ensure fairness as jurors are more likely to understand things from your perspective. During a jury trial, your Sullo lawyer will conduct a voir dire examination to select the six most impartial, unbiased jury panel members to decide your case. However, before a case ever gets to trial, your Sullo lawyer will look for defects in the court’s charging instruments (i.e. the documents the court uses to charge you with an offense). If there is a defect, your officer does not remember your case or your officer does not come to court, the Sullo attorney representing you will move to dismiss your case—all without ever needing to go to trial in the first place.Do judge’s take into consideration the effort made on my part to travel all the way there to speak the truth in my split second decision? In some instances, courts will give trial priority to defendants who come to defend a ticket from out-of-state. It is always at the discretion of the judge whether or not a case gets priority. The judges have many factors to consider in deciding which case goes to trial first.Should your case reach trial, the fact that you are traveling from out-of-state is a factor that your Sullo attorney can present to the jury to demonstrate how fervently you believe in your innocence. You also mentioned that this ticket resulted from a “split second decision.” From what you described, it sounds like you were being tailgated by a tractor trailer and that you believed the way you were driving was necessary to protect you and others around you. Many people think that when it comes to speeding in Texas the law only considers the posted speed limit. However, the Texas Transportation Code explains that the correct speed to travel is a speed which is “reasonable and prudent under the circumstances then existing.” In your case, a defense at trial would be that considering your safety and the road conditions at the time, you did drive at a speed that was reasonable and prudent and, in fact, necessary to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you.What are the ramifications of a guilty conviction at trial?If your case goes to trial, your Sullo attorney is always fighting for that “not guilty” verdict. However, if you are found guilty at trial in a speeding ticket case, a jury will assess a penalty from a specific fine range which is typically between $1 and $200 (with some exceptions such as if the speeding ticket is written in a construction zone or a school zone). In addition to the fine, the court will also add in court costs which vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.Further, a guilty verdict in a speeding ticket case will usually add two points to your driving record for three years. However, note that it is not until an individual receives six points or more in a 36 month period that the person will have to pay surcharges to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Does a speeding ticket conviction affect my chances of getting a Texas State license?One speeding ticket conviction should not affect your ability to apply for a Texas State license. For more information, please contact the Texas Department of Public Safety. www.txdps.state.tx.us/DriverLicense/Does a speeding ticket conviction affect my ability to renew my license out of state?A speeding ticket conviction should not affect your ability to renew your home state drivers license. For more information, please contact your state public safety agency for more information as driving laws vary from state to state.Will a speeding ticket conviction show up on a “background check”?Depending on the type of background check a speeding ticket may or may not show up. Typically, a speeding ticket conviction will not show up on your permanent record. However, be careful not to forget about your speeding ticket and let it go into warrants. A speeding ticket case that goes into warrants is often considered more serious than a speeding ticket conviction.


12/2/2013 1:13 PM

I took a back pack out of a car and went to jail for Burglary of a vehicle. I received deferred adjudication, 2 years probation, a fine, and community service. I was told it was a misdemeanor. Background checks are now keeping me from getting a job. Can they see this on my record?

Andrew Sullo

12/3/2013 11:15 AM

Even though the charge is a misdemeanor, burglary of a motor vehicle is obviously something a prospective employer would be worried about. I would recommend sealing the violation in order to be more competitive in the job market. Most potential employers would be dissuaded from hiring an employee with this charge on their record.

Andrew Sullo

12/9/2013 10:23 PM

Since this is a citation for a fine above $500, you must disclose it on your application, but circle, underline or highlight the word "cited", and obtain certified copies of the citation and court disposition. If it is a minor traffic violation, it should not be a problem. Make sure you have all supporting documents with you. You may have to explain this to an immigration officer at the interview. If a major traffic violation I would recommend you consult an immigration attorney in your area.


1/18/2014 6:44 PM

Im 20 and I recently was cited with a Class C Theft charge. It is the first time I have ever stole and I got caught. What is the best way of going about this so it isnt on my record HELP!! :(((

deferred adjudication and state jail

1/21/2014 8:37 PM

I was given a 3 year deferred adjudication and completed over 2 years when I missed one of my probation appointment dates by getting the date wrong and was sent to state jail for 6 mos. Can I still get my records sealed and expunged?

Andrew Sullo

1/22/2014 1:22 PM

Unfortunately, the terms of deferred adjudication state that if you do not successfully complete the deferred adjudication, you are adjudicated guilty. Being adjudicated guilty is a final conviction and therefore makes you ineligible to receive an expunction or sealing your records.

Andrew Sullo

1/22/2014 1:39 PM

A Class C Theft Charge does not carry jail time as part of the punishment. It does however have a significant fine and can do harm to your permanent record. The harm can cause difficulty with future employment and job applications, potential school and graduate school opportunities, and can have immigration consequences. Because of the long reaching effects of a theft conviction, I would recommend that you hire a lawyer that can find a way to keep this off your record and then expunge and seal the record so that it does not follow you for the rest of your life.


3/2/2014 6:14 AM

I am a pizza delivery driver. I received a pizza order with correct apartment number but without gate code to get into the apartment. I was at the gate and tried to get into the complex but was unable. I noticed a car came out from the exit gate and I proceeded to drive into the complex. A police officer was there and gave me a verbal warning for trespass. Is this trespass or do I have a right to be there?


3/5/2014 1:04 AM

A friend was originally charged with a felony for drinking and driving with children. The court charged my friend with Class A misdemeanor and was given community service, probation and parenting classes. He just lost his job because of the conviction. How long does he have to wait to get his record expunged? Is he eligible for his record to be expunged? This is his first offense.

Andrew Sullo

3/5/2014 3:14 PM

When a person takes community service, probation and parenting classes for a Class A misdemeanor, this is counted as a final conviction. Unfortunately this conviction can never be expunged or sealed and it will remain on the record for life.

Andrew Sullo

3/5/2014 3:23 PM

Once a person receives notice to leave, he must leave. If he does not, it is considered trespass. Now that a trespass warning has been giving, he is on notice and entry is forbidden. He should never go back there or he will be guilty of trespass and possibly arrested.

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