understanding texas criminal procedure for misdemeanors

At Vargas Guerra LLP, we recognize that facing a misdemeanor charge in Texas can be a daunting and complex process. Our aim is to demystify the criminal procedure for misdemeanors, providing our clients with the knowledge and legal support needed to navigate the justice system confidently. This page outlines the key stages and legal considerations involved in Texas misdemeanor cases, offering a roadmap for those who find themselves confronting such charges.

Arrest and Booking

The criminal process typically begins with an arrest, which can occur with or without a warrant, depending on the circumstances. Following the arrest for a misdemeanor offense, the individual is booked at a local police station, a process that includes taking fingerprints, a photograph, and recording personal information.

Issuance of Citation or Charge

In some misdemeanor cases, especially for Class C misdemeanors in Texas, law enforcement may issue a citation in lieu of arrest, directing the individual to appear in court at a later date. For more serious misdemeanors, formal charges are filed, leading to the next steps in the criminal process.

Initial Appearance and Bail

Shortly after the arrest, the defendant will have an initial appearance before a judge, where they are informed of their rights and the charges against them. Bail may be set during this time, providing the defendant an opportunity to be released from custody while awaiting trial, based on specific conditions.


The arraignment is the formal proceeding where the defendant is called before a criminal court to respond to the charge by entering a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest. It's crucial to have legal representation during this stage to ensure that your rights are protected and to discuss the implications of your plea.

Pre-Trial Motions and Negotiations

Prior to the trial, both the defense and prosecution can file various motions, including those to dismiss charges, suppress evidence, or request a change of venue. This phase may also involve plea negotiations, where a defendant, advised by their attorney, may agree to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a reduced sentence.


If the case proceeds to trial, both sides will present evidence and arguments before a judge or jury, who will then render a verdict. Misdemeanor trials in Texas are typically before a jury, unless a jury trial is waived, in which case a judge will decide the outcome.


If found guilty, sentencing for a misdemeanor in Texas varies depending on the class of misdemeanor:

  • Class A misdemeanors carry up to one year in county jail and/or a fine up to $4,000.
  • Class B misdemeanors can result in up to 180 days in county jail and/or a fine up to $2,000.
  • Class C misdemeanors, the least severe, may result in a fine up to $500, without jail time.


Defendants convicted of a misdemeanor have the right to appeal their case to a higher court, challenging procedural errors or legal interpretations that may have affected the verdict.

Expunction and Non-Disclosure

Under certain conditions, individuals convicted of misdemeanors may seek to have their records expunged or sealed, limiting the impact of the conviction on their future.

Why Choose Vargas Guerra LLP?

Navigating the complexities of Texas's criminal procedure for misdemeanors demands experienced legal representation. At Vargas Guerra LLP, we are committed to providing our clients with comprehensive legal support, from the initial stages through trial or plea negotiations, to appeals and beyond. Our team is dedicated to advocating for your rights, aiming to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

Contact us today to discuss your case and learn how we can help you through the misdemeanor process in Texas.