In the United States of America, crimes are separated into two categories: felony offenses and misdemeanor offenses. The former of the two is more severe and comes with higher sentences, going all the way up to life in prison. The latter, however, carries a maximum penalty of around a year in jail. It is clear to see, simply from the sentencing guidelines, that felony offenses are much more severe than misdemeanor offenses. However, knowing the difference between them is very important to know where you stand if you are being charged with a criminal offense.Seven most Common Misdemeanor Charges that you should be aware of to be able to avoid while traveling.Learn about Common Misdemeanor Charges.
In this article, we will tell you a few examples of what a misdemeanor offense is so that if you find yourself arrested and charged with one so that you know what to do, where you stand, and what your options are. Being charged with any criminal offense can be stressful, but the uncertainty of what your punishment maybe can be enough to drive you crazy. By knowing what misdemeanor offenses are, you will know exactly where you stand and how to react.
Here are a few common misdemeanor offenses that you should be aware of.
Wait, I’ve Been Charged. What Should I Do?
If you find yourself charged with a misdemeanor offense, you’ve found the right page. Yes, by deciding to visit this site, you will now learn the most important thing for you to do if you are charged with an offense, which is: phone a lawyer! Yes, stop wasting your time reading this article and get on the phone with a lawyer. Only an attorney can help you win your case, and only an attorney can help tell you what to do moving forward so that you can minimize the impact a misdemeanor offense can have on your life. You’ll want to find attorneys that can assist you, such as Jacobson, Julius & Harshberger Criminal Defense Attorneys. There is no point in contacting a lawyer if they don’t specialize in this area of law.
7 Common Misdemeanor Charges
The most common misdemeanor charge brought against people is assault. Assault is a crime that has varying levels of severity and can be either felony or misdemeanor, depending on the intention behind the assault, the level of harm inflicted, and the consequences of the assault. Assault can carry a prison sentence of up to a year but can be as little as six months [or a fine]. An assault that was carried out with a weapon will always be a felony assault, as will an assault that results in an actual bodily injury. Felony assault can come with sentences that can go as high as twenty-five to life.
Drug offenses, like assault, vary in severity. Some drug offenses can be considered misdemeanors, while others can be considered felonies. A drug charge is often considered a felony when intent to supply can be proven and when the quantity is more than a standard possession. The quantity that can be considered a felony possession varies from state to state. In the state of California, you can spend a year in prison for possession. If you have a large enough quantity to be considered for sale, you can receive many years in prison.
Disturbing the Peace
Disturbing the peace is a very common misdemeanor. You can be charged with disturbing the peace for doing anything that can be considered a detriment to public safety or ‘the peace’—for example, fighting in public, causing alarm and distress, shouting at people, bullying, or causing a protest or riot. It is very rare to receive a felony disturbing the peace charge, but it is certainly possible with that said.
Theft, like drugs and assault, varies in severity. You can be given a felony theft charge. The smallest of thefts is petty theft, which is taking the property of another person unlawfully. This can be money or belongings. A felony theft will be when the value of what was stolen is very high – a misdemeanor will be when it is low. Generally, in most states, any theft up to five-hundred dollars will be considered a misdemeanor, and anything that exceeds five-hundred dollars can be considered a felony. Grand theft [grand larceny] is anything that exceeds the value of a thousand dollars – grand theft is a felony.
Indecent exposure, like the other crimes listed here, varies between misdemeanor and felonies. Whether or not indecent exposure is considered a felony or a misdemeanor depends upon who a person exposes themselves. If a person reveals them to a child, then indecent exposure becomes a felony. Different states have their own predetermined age limits to help decide whether indecent exposure is a misdemeanor or a felony. Many argue that all indecent exposures should be felonies, for they can be very harrowing and traumatizing for the victims who have been exposed to them.
Traffic offenses are potentially the most common misdemeanor offenses that occur. Traffic violations can be felonies, however. A felony traffic offense would be living at the scene of an accident, vehicular homicide, and attempting to evade police. A few misdemeanor traffic violations are speeding, driving without a valid license, driving without valid insurance, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Traffic offenses are terribly common throughout the United States, and a lot is being done to stop people from causing traffic offenses. One can expect to lose their license after frequent traffic offenses are committed.
While this may sound awfully silly, it is best to live a life free of crime. Most of us do. However, some people are more inclined toward crime than others. Crimes can ruin lives, including your own. We recommend that, rather than commit crimes, you live a life free from them and respectable lives. A criminal record can hold you back for the rest of your life and prevent you from having the same opportunities as other people. We whole-heartedly recommend you live according to the law and avoid crime when and where you can.
With the help of this page, you now know the differences between a misdemeanor and a felony crime, and you now know a few misdemeanor charges that you should be aware of. By being aware of these, you can avoid committing them yourself. We hope you enjoyed the read.