Interviewer: What’s the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony charge in Texas? And what are the levels of both?
Texas Has Three Levels of Misdemeanor Charges
Brad: In Texas, we have 3 levels of misdemeanor, Class A, B, and C misdemeanors. A Class C misdemeanor is essentially an offense similar to a traffic ticket where it’s punishable by fine only, and by a fine only of up to $500. Class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to a $2,000 fine and/or 180 days in the county jail. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year in the county jail and/or a $4,000 fine.
Interviewer: Are there any typical crimes that fall into the A, B, and C misdemeanor range?
A DWI Is the Most Common Class A or B Misdemeanor in Texas
Brad: Yes. In San Antonio and in Bexar County, I think the most common misdemeanor, Class A or B misdemeanor in Texas is a DWI. A first time DWI in Texas is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail and/or a $2,000 fine. If it’s your second offense or if your blood alcohol level is found to be at a .15 grams per deciliter or higher, then it is considered a Class A misdemeanor.
Other Common Misdemeanor Crimes in Texas Include Resisting Arrest and Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor
Interviewer: Are any other common crimes that fall into the misdemeanor range?
Brad: Yeah, you have your resisting arrest is a Class A misdemeanor; failing to identify to a police officer is a misdemeanor; evading arrest, first time, is a misdemeanor; furnishing alcohol to a minor is a misdemeanor, which is a common crime. Assault is a Class A misdemeanor, that’s very important. Assault against a family member is a misdemeanor.
Interviewer: How about shoplifting?
Brad: Shoplifting theft is a misdemeanor, depending on the value of the items that you’ve taken. Prostitution is also a misdemeanor.
What Are the Felony Levels and Punishments in Texas?
Interviewer: So how about for felonies? What are the levels, and what’s the range of punishments?
Texas Is a Capital Punishment State
Brad: A state jail felony is punishable by up to 180 days to 2 years in the state jail facility and/or a $10,000 fine. A 3rd degree felony is punishable by up to 2 years to 10 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the TDCJ Institutional Division. A 2nd degree felony is 2 to 20 years in the TDCJ Institutional Division, and a 1st degree is 5 years to 99 or life in prison and/or a $10,000 fine. And then of course you have your capital crimes which could be either death or life in prison.
Attorney Kvinta’s Practice Is Currently Comprised of Felony Drug, Assault and Theft Cases and Misdemeanor DWIs
Interviewer: In your practice, what are the most typical types of crimes that you defend people against?
Brad: The most typical types of crimes that I am currently working on are felony drug cases, felony theft cases or burglary cases, and then misdemeanor DWIs. And some felony assault cases.
What Are Less Common or Unusual Cases?
Interviewer: Are there any other crimes you represent people for that are unusual or people aren’t aware happen very frequently?
Brad: We do handle some credit card or debit card abuse that may not happen very frequently, some DWI with child, which is a felony that doesn’t happen as often as a general misdemeanor DWI and certain other felony DWIs. We have worked on some misapplication of funds or fiduciary duties, which are white collar cases, but don’t occur as frequently.
Attorney Kvinta Practices in all Courts in the State of Texas
Interviewer: What counties do you practice in, and what courts do you practice in?
Brad: Well, I practice in all courts in the state of Texas. Most frequently though in Bexar County, Comal County, Hays County, Travis County, Dewitt County, Lavaca County, and Guadalupe County. I work most often in all of south central Texas. I’m also licensed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas.
Attorney Kvinta Can Defend against Federal Charges
Interviewer: Are those types of cases federal cases?
Brad: That’s federal court, yes.
Attorney Kvinta’s Long Acquaintance with the Court Personnel Has Fostered Mutual Respect and Rapport with the Support Staff, Prosecutors and the Judges
Interviewer: You have been practicing for several years, so are you acquainted with the court staff, the judges and the prosecutors? Do you feel like you have a mutual level of respect and rapport with these people?
It Is Important for Attorneys to Build Relationships with the Court Personnel
Brad: I do feel that way. I feel like I know everybody fairly well, especially people that have worked in the court system quite a while. I know probably almost all of the judges here in Bexar County in the criminal courts and in the felony and misdemeanor courts.
I am familiar to the support staff; we have face time with them every day. Support staff includes the people in the district or county clerk’s office to the court reporters and people in court administration.
I also know a good majority of the prosecutors. I’ve worked with a lot of them, they know me as well and they do have a level of respect for me and I have a level of respect for them.
Good Working Relationships Promote a Better Process for the Prosecutors, Defense Attorneys and Defendants
Interviewer: Of course, they’re not going to show favoritism to you, but when you represent someone, you bring all that familiarity in as part of the equation. Because the court staff is acquainted with you and they have respect for you, do you feel the entire process runs in a more efficient manner?
Brad: Oh, without a doubt. Those relationships that we have with the prosecutors and the judges help our clients immensely. You know, it may not always result in a better deal, but it results in a better process for everybody.
What Is a Common Reaction to Being Arrested?
Interviewer: What have you learned about people’s behavior and their reaction to being arrested and charged with a crime? What human insights have you learned about?
Brad: People universally react from shock. They say, “I can’t believe that this is happening, I don’t know anything about this.” Also, they react with anger, where they’re either mad at the system or mad at themselves; and everything in between. Nobody’s obviously happy about it.