What Are Misdemeanors?
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What Are Misdemeanors?
Misdemeanors are criminal offenses that lie in between petty citations and more serious felony charges. In criminal law, a misdemeanor is a lesser type of a crime which usually have less punishable penalties. According to most state laws, misdemeanors are punishable by some criminal fines and a jail sentence of up to one year maximum. The sentence is to be served in a local jail facility rather than a high security prison facility.
Common examples of misdemeanor charges include:
- Theft crimes (under a certain amount, usually under $500)
- Assault and battery
- Public drunkenness and other alcohol-related crimes
- Failure to appear in court and other court-related violations
What Are Some Common Examples of Misdemeanors?
Misdemeanors are classified in a different class that vary from state to state. Some misdemeanors can actually be considered to be felonies in other states if those states have stricter laws regarding that crime. Some common examples of misdemeanor crimes include:
- Assault resulting in bodily injury
- DUI/DWI (see also Felony DUI)
- Misdemeanor Domestic Violence
- Resisting arrest
- Possession of a controlled substance
- Property theft over $1,000
- Reckless or deadly conduct
- Unlawful possession of a weapon
- Violating a restraining order
What Are "Unclassified Misdemeanors"?
Most states have different classes of misdemeanors, such as Class A, Class B, Class C, etc. Class A is usually the most serious crime and is associated with the most severe punishments. Many Class A misdemeanors can be punished in a way that is similar to felony crimes.
However, many misdemeanors are known as "unclassified misdemeanors" and do not fit directly into a listed category. These include crimes that can have varying penalties, crimes that are difficult to define, or newer crimes. Some types of unclassified misdemeanors may include gambling charges, less serious violations like littering or disposal related offenses, and various traffic-related charges. Many unclassified misdemeanors are "non-jailable offenses" that result in only citation and/or fine.
Are There Any Defenses to Misdemeanors?
There are many types of different criminal defenses that may be available for a person who has been arrested and charged with a misdemeanor. These defenses include:
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Misdemeanor Charges?
Misdemeanors are very serious charges and can often involve very serious criminal penalties. You may wish to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in your area if you need help defending a misdemeanor charge or charges. Your attorney can provide you with valuable legal advice and can guide you throughout the entire legal process. Also, your lawyer can help when it comes to the different criminal defenses available for your case.
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Last Modified: 09-30-2016 06:45 AM PDT
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