Gross Misdemeanor Laws

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What is a “Gross Misdemeanor”?

A “Gross Misdemeanor” is a type of crime that is more serious than a misdemeanor, but still not as serious as a felony charge.  Some examples of gross misdemeanors include simple assault, petty theft, or driving under the influence (DUI). 

In legal terms, the word “gross” usually indicates that the offense was willful or flagrant, and should result in a more severe penalty.  Gross misdemeanors are usually included under the misdemeanor laws of a given state.

What are the Penalties for Gross Misdemeanors?

As mentioned, gross misdemeanors are not as serious as felony crimes.  Unlike felony charges, gross misdemeanor charges can usually be expunged after a few years.  Also, sentences for gross misdemeanors are usually served in a county jail, rather than in a prison facility.

However, gross misdemeanors can sometimes be associated with stiff legal penalties.  A defendant who is found guilty of a gross misdemeanor can receive the maximum penalties for a misdemeanor.  In most jurisdictions, this includes a monetary fine of up to $5,000, and a maximum of one year in jail.

Furthermore, persons who repeatedly commit gross misdemeanors may be subject to additional legal consequences.  For example, a first-time DUI offense can result in fines, jail time, and a temporary suspension of driving privileges.  However, a second or third-time DUI offense can result in increased fines, longer jail time, and a permanent loss of driving privileges. 

Do I need a Lawyer for a Gross Misdemeanor Charge?

Unlike standard misdemeanor charges, gross misdemeanor charges can result in more severe penalties.  If you are facing gross misdemeanor charges, you may wish to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.  Your attorney will be able to assist you in court and provide you with legal advice as needed. 

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Last Modified: 06-30-2011 01:32 PM PDT

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