Class A Misdemeanor Laws
What is a Class A Misdemeanor?
A Class A Misdemeanor is the most serious classification of misdemeanor charges in most states. State typically divide misdemeanors into such categories as Class A, B, C, D, etc., with A being the most serious and C or D being the least serious
Not all states and jurisdictions use the term “Class A misdemeanor”- some of them use the terms “first degree misdemeanor” or “Class 1 misdemeanor”. Also, some states do not divide misdemeanor charges into classifications at all. Class A misdemeanors are sometimes further divided into subcategories, such as class A-I or A-II
In general, a misdemeanor is an offense which is punishable by a jail term of one year maximum. Offenses which require more than a year of incarceration are typically classified as felonies instead of misdemeanors. Felony charges can result in a sentence in a federal prison, whereas misdemeanors usually result in sentencing in a local or county jail.
Misdemeanors are less serious than felonies, though some states treat Class A misdemeanors similarly to felonies. Some circumstances may elevate a Class A misdemeanor to a felony charge.
What are the Penalties for Class A Misdemeanors?
Since class A misdemeanors are usually the most serious type of misdemeanor offense, they often involve the maximum amount of penalties that can be prescribed for a misdemeanor. Though punishments may vary widely from state to state, a class a misdemeanor usually results in:
- Fines ranging anywhere from $500 to $5,000, and/or
- The maximum jail sentence allowed for misdemeanors (1 year)
Additionally, a judge may require the defendant to complete additional requirements, such as rehabilitation programs or community service. These depend on the nature of the class A misdemeanor and the prior criminal history of the defendant.
Class B misdemeanors typically involve a fine and/or a jail sentence of less than the maximum term, usually 6 or 9 months. Class C and D misdemeanors are less serious; they are usually considered to be “non-jailable” offenses that are punished only by a small monetary fine.
What are some common examples of Class A Misdemeanors?
Every state categorizes misdemeanors differently from the next. For example, one state may place DUI offenses under class A, while other states may list DUI’s under a different category. Some common examples of class A misdemeanor crimes include:
- Assault resulting in bodily injury
- DUI (second offense)
- Escaping custody or jumping bail
- Evading or Resisting arrest
- Gambling-related crimes
- Obscenity and Public lewdness
- Possession specified amounts of marijuana
- Thefts of property over $1,000
- Unlawful possession of a weapon
- Violating a restraining order
Again, class A misdemeanors may differ by region, so you may wish to consult with an attorney if you are unsure of the laws of your state.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Class A Misdemeanor charges?
Although it may seem like misdemeanor charges are not that serious, most class A misdemeanors are almost as serious as felony charges. Therefore, you should speak with a criminal lawyer immediately if you have been accused of committing a class A misdemeanor. Your attorney will be able to represent you in a court of law and can advise you on whether any defenses may be available to you. They may also be able to contend for a reduction in charges or sentencing.
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Last Modified: 02-16-2011 04:18 PM PST
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