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Misdemeanor Explained


What is a Misdemeanor?

A misdemeanor, in the majority of legal systems, is regarded as a “lesser” criminal act. Misdemeanors are one of two broad classifications to define a criminal action. A misdemeanor when compared to a felony is typically attached with less severe punishments.

Misdemeanors carry administrative infractions, known as regulatory offenses. As a result, the majority of infractions that are regarded as misdemeanors are punishable through the payment of a monetary fine. As opposed to felonies, misdemeanors are administered and processed in the civil court system.

The United States Federal Government classifies a misdemeanor as any criminal action that carries a maximum punishment of one year in prison. Any crime that carries a punishment above this threshold is considered a felony act.

In the United States, misdemeanors generally do not result in the loss of civil rights, but may result in the loss of privileges, such as licenses or public employment.

Jurisdictions will categorize misdemeanors based on class. The division is achieved through an observation of the infraction’s severity in regards to the social implications of the act. In a general sense, a State may adopt 4 classes of misdemeanors. Class 1 and Class 2 misdemeanors are punishable by twelve-month and six-month jail sentences, respectively, while Class 3 and Class 4 misdemeanors are classified as non-jail offenses and are payable by fines.

Underage drinking, petty crimes such as shoplifting, the obtainment of small amounts of cannabis, public urination, or minor destruction of property are considered misdemeanors.

Those who are charged with misdemeanors should seek the aid of a legal professional who specializes in civil law. Civil lawyers will typically seek to alleviate and resolve the misdemeanor suit out of court through an alternative resolution.

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