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Classifications of Misdemeanor Criminal Charges

Classifications of Misdemeanor Criminal Charges

Classes of Misdemeanor Charges

Those charged with a misdemeanor offense may face fewer consequences than those charged with a felony, but any misdemeanor arrest or conviction can still negatively affect your life.

A common misconception about misdemeanors is that legal representation is not necessary. Although the punishments for misdemeanors are far less than those of felonies, the cases go through the same process. As with felonies, criminal defense attorneys possess the skills necessary to provide the most positive outcome.

There are three types of misdemeanor offenses that can be filed in criminal court: Class C, Class B, and Class A. The main difference in these levels of offenses is the range of punishment the defendant faces.

Class C Misdemeanors

Among misdemeanor offenses, a Class C misdemeanor brings fewer potential penalties and less potential jail time than other classes. Minor traffic violations are common Class C misdemeanors, but there are other actions that fall in this category as well. Falsely reporting a child missing, assisting a suicide, and tampering with governmental records, some drug charges, as well as a host of other offenses may result in Class C misdemeanor charges.

While people sometimes don’t feel they need to hire a lawyer to defend against a Class C misdemeanor charge, just being charged can have serious consequences in certain cases (such as the suspension of your driver’s license after a DWI arrest), not to mention the consequences of a conviction.

Class B Misdemeanors

The next step up is a Class B misdemeanor. Punishment for this class of misdemeanor may include fines, jail time, or both (often up to a $2,000 fine and up to 180 days in jail). Examples of Class B misdemeanors can include harassment, simple assault, shoplifting, drug possession, and prostitution.

Class A Misdemeanors

A Class A misdemeanor faces the most severe consequences of all misdemeanor charges, and is one step below a felony. Jail time for this offense can be as long as a year and the fine as high as $4,000 (with exceptions). As with Class B misdemeanors, the criminal court has the discretion to render either of these two types of punishments, or both.  Animal cruelty is just one example of a Class A misdemeanor.

Quite often, the punishment that an individual faces varies from state to state, and from court to court. You should never put your faith in the court system to determine your fate without someone on your side looking out for your best interests, even if “only” facing a misdemeanor charge.

A criminal attorney can mean the difference between a conviction and a dismissal, can help present and negotiate plea deals with the prosecution, and can make a world of difference when it comes to the consequences you face if convicted. To speak with a lawyer about your case today, call us at 1-800-ATTORNEY.

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