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The American legal system classes its crimes. More serious crimes are known as felonies. They are punished harshly usually with a prison term. Misdemeanors are less serious crimes. They are also punished much less harshly. Misdemeanors and punishments vary greatly according to jurisdiction. Some examples of misdemeanors are petty theft, prostitution, simple assault, disorderly conduct, trespassing and vandalism. Again, punishments do vary according to jurisdiction but typically they are crimes that a maximum punishment would be a year in a local jail. (Prison is not an option)

People who are convicted of misdemeanors are also punished by probation, community service or part-time prison sentences served on the weekends. Some lesser misdemeanors can carry a simple fine. One way misdemeanors can differ from felonies is in the loss of civil rights. If someone is convicted of a felony, then a loss of freedom and voting can be imposed. A misdemeanor should not result in a loss of civil rights except in those cases where a jail sentence is given.

A misdemeanor can result in a loss of privilege. One can lose public licenses and employment as a result of being convicted of a misdemeanor. The purpose of this article is to explain and answer some of the most commonly asked questions about misdemeanors.

Are DUI offences considered misdemeanors?
Sometimes, typically the first offense provided there was no accident and no one was seriously injured or killed will be classed as a misdemeanor. However, you will still face a hefty fine and possible loss of your license. Any subsequent DUI offences committed within 10 years of the first offence will be then classed as felonies. This is regardless of accident or injuries.

What are the punishments for misdemeanors?
It depends on how serious it is and what state you live in. Generally, misdemeanors are put into classes of 1 to 4. Class 1 Misdemeanors are the most serious. They carry a maximum fine of 2,500 dollars and a one year jail term. A class 2 misdemeanor carries a fine of no more than 1,000 dollars and a jail term maximum of six months. A class 3 misdemeanor is a fine no more than 500 dollars and no jail term imposed. Finally, a class 4 misdemeanor carries a maximum fine of 250 dollars with out jail.

Misdemeanors are lower class crimes than felonies. They can result in jail time but are more often punished through fines. Misdemeanors are still crimes and can follow you throughout your life. This can result in a loss of privilege or even a job.


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