A misdemeanor is a criminal charge that is punishable by less than one year in jail. The range of punishment for a class B misdemeanor is up to 180 days in the county jail and up to a $2,000.00 fine. The range of punishment for a class A misdemeanor is up to a year in the county jail and up to a $4,000.00 fine. Not every misdemeanor fits neatly into one of these groups. For example, DWI carries a minimum of 72 hours in jail. Misdemeanor time is served in the Collin County jail day for day, unless the inmate is a trustee. Trustees get two days credit for every day they serve.


Misdemeanors are usually filed in the County Court at Law within two months after a person is arrested. This is not a requirement, though. The Statute of Limitations on misdemeanors is two years. That means that the State could wait that long to file a case against an alleged defendant. Even then, Statute of Limitations is a Defense and must be proved by the Defense by a preponderance of the evidence at trial. [check law] Generally, after a case is filed, the court will send the Defendant notice of a court date called a first appearance. This is not required and is merely a courtesy. [check fact] After 30 days in jail on a misdemeanor charge, a defendant is entitled to a personal recognizance bond if no affidavit is filed by the State alleging probable cause to hold the Defendant. (This will almost never happen.) A personal recognizance bond is an accused's promise to appear for court or pay the amount of the bond to the court.


After the case is filed, the court will send the accused notice that they have a court date. The first court date is called the first appearance. As a general rule, cases are not “disposed” or resolved at the first appearance.