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What Are Misdemeanor Charges?
Misdemeanor charges may be defined as any charge resulting in a jail sentence of up to one year. In the United States federal criminal code, crimes are divided into two categories: misdemeanors and felonies. The difference between the two categories vary since misdemeanor crimes have less penalties and are considered less serious than a felony. Some states classify misdemeanors according to the level of seriousness of the crime and place them into different types of classes such as Class A, or Class B misdemeanors.
What Are Some Examples of Misdemeanor Charges?
A crime can have the same general classifications, but the crime may be broken down to several levels of severity, some crimes can be elevated into a felony depending on the seriousness of the crime. Misdemeanor examples may include:
- DUI charges (non-serious cases)
- Simple assault or battery
- Aggravated assault
- Harboring a runaway child
- Criminal mischief
- Theft of less than $500 (the amount may vary by state)
- Receiving property stolen in another state valued at $1,500 or less
- Bringing stolen property worth less than $1,500 across state lines
- Reckless conduct causing harm to or endangering the bodily safety of another
- Firing a gun in public
- Interfering with custody
- Cyber bullying
- Obstructing a public officer
- Criminal coercion
- Deadly or reckless conduct
- Public drunkenness
- Certain types of white-collar crimes
- Various types of drug-related charges (usually possession rather than distribution)
There may be many other types of misdemeanor charges listed in state criminal statutes. Every state will classify crimes in a different way. Some states may also include a list of "wobbler" offenses, which are crimes that can be prosecuted as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the facts of the case.
What Is Misdemeanor Expungement?
An expungement is a court ordered process in where a criminal record of an arrest or a criminal conviction is "sealed". When a conviction is expunged, the criminal conviction is said to be set aside as if the crime never happened. This gives a person filing for an expungement a clean record which can be used when applying for employment, housing, etc. An expungement may also be available for individuals who have been convicted of a misdemeanor.
Misdemeanor expungement is usually only available to persons who have completed their criminal sentences for the misdemeanor and have maintained a good record since that time. It is also usually a requirement that a certain number of years pass after the last conviction before the misdemeanor can be expunged (usually anywhere from 5-10 years).
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Misdemeanor Charges?
Misdemeanor charges usually require the assistance of a qualified criminal defense attorney. You may wish to hire a lawyer if you need assistance with a misdemeanor case. Your attorney can provide you with professional legal advice and can represent you during the court hearings. Your attorney can also inform you of the various legal defenses that might apply to your case.
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Last Modified: 12-20-2016 09:57 PM PST
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