According to the seriousness of crimes, there are two categories in the United States, one is Felony and the other is Misdemeanor. The difference between both is that felony is the class of most serious crimes and on the other hand misdemeanor are the least crimes causing no harm to life and property.
The maximum punishment of misdemeanor crimes is incarceration in the local jail for up to one year or some penalty or in some cases both.
Classification of Misdemeanor:
The classification of misdemeanor into classes or levels let the states assign the sentence for the offense accordingly. Most of the states classify misdemeanor into Class A, B, C and so one and into levels 1, 2, 3, and so on according to the seriousness of the offense.
Class A Misdemeanor:
The crimes that lie in Class A are the most serious in nature. There’s a very small gap between class A misdemeanor and felony, even some of class A crimes can be treated as a felonious crime.
Charges for class A: Being most serious among all the maximum punishment is incarceration from six months to one year in a local jail. Some states impose a fine of $ 2,500 or both. If the offense is such that the punishment should be more than one year of jail then it will be considered a felony.
Examples for class A:
Assault: Punching or beating someone.
Vandalism: An act that involves harming of public or private property
Shoplifting: stealing or taking away goods from a store without paying for them.
Class B Misdemeanor:
The crimes lying is this category is less serious than Class A crimes
Charges for class B: The misdemeanor charge for Class B may be incarceration
Up to six months in local jail or fine of $2,000 or both
Examples for Class B:
First offense DWI (driving while intoxicated),
Indecent Exposure: Purposely showing off one’s body parts like genitals that may disturb the public,
Minor drug possession that is up to 2 ounces,
Criminal trespass: an illegal entry to someone’s else property without the consent of the owner.
Class C Misdemeanor:
The crimes of this class are less serious than those of Class B crimes
Charges for Class C:
Being less serious than a class B crime the punishment is incarceration up to 3 months in jail or a fine of $1,000.
Examples for Class:
Public Intoxication: a person is drunk publically or is under the influence of drugs in public, thereby disturbing the normal functioning of society,
Possessing alcohol in a motor vehicle,
Driving under the influence of alcohol
Breaching traffic rules
Effects and Consequences of Misdemeanor charges:
Misdemeanor charges though seem to be minor and less serious but once convicted with such charges it has the potentiality to have a long-term effect on both the professional and personal life.
Such charges, in the United States, mean a permanent criminal record that can:
become a hurdle in getting a job, promotion, and scholarship,
ineligible for a government job, teacher’s job, or lawyer,
problems in getting the loan,
cancellation of driving license if found drunk or breached traffic rules,
affect the reputation in public and family as these charges are public.
Misdemeanors in simple terms can be demonstrated as crimes that are less serious and it does not cause loss to life and property. The punishment for such crimes is the incarceration of a maximum of one year in the local jail or some minor fines, or both. The division of crimes into classes makes the state clearly define the offense in which class it lies and accordingly assigns sentence. The federal criminal code in each state recognizes that misdemeanors are less serious crimes. But should not be taken lightly as these charges are the criminal record that could have long-term effects and become hindrances in many parts such as jobs, loans, housing, scholarship, cancellation of licenses.