What’s a Misdemeanor?

There are multiple reasons you might want to know about crime classifications. Perhaps you have an impending charge, or you want to know how the impact of a charge will affect someone you love. Here’s some information about crime classifications for you to review.

What Types of Crimes Are There?

Typically, two major classifications of crimes exist. They are petty crimes or misdemeanors and felony crimes. 

Misdemeanors usually result in less than one year of jail time. However, they can also be punished with fines, probation, or community service.

A felony conviction typically results in prison time and carries much heavier weight against an offender. In some rare cases, judges may offer a person probation for a lower-class felony, such as a fourth-degree offense. 

Federal crimes are violations of federal regulations and can be classified as misdemeanors or felonies. They include crimes such as embezzlement, terrorism, mail fraud, and wire fraud. 

What Are Considered Misdemeanors?

A variety of offenses can be considered misdemeanors. One example is a case of shoplifting or petty theft valued at less than $500. Anything from a child stealing a piece of candy to a teen taking a watch can be considered a misdemeanor.

Simple assault is also considered a misdemeanor. A domestic violence incident might fall under this classification, depending on the level of harm caused to the victim.

Indecent exposure is another example of a misdemeanor. Driving violations such as driving under the influence and reckless driving are additional examples. 

What Classifies as a Misdemeanor?

Each crime is evaluated by the state or federal prosecutor and classified according to what that entity wants. Crimes can start as felonies and get downgraded to lower-class felonies or misdemeanors. In rare cases, they can be upgraded as well.

Hiring an attorney is the best way for a person to protect himself or herself from a lifelong consequence unequal to the offense. Unfortunately, many people have to settle for a public defender because of a lack of funds, and not all public defenders have the "client’s" best interest in mind. Self-representation is often just as harmful as using a public defender. 

Do Crimes Ever Fall Off Your Record?

Unfortunately, criminal convictions do not fall off anyone’s records unless they committed the crimes when they were under 18. An 18-year-old person will have to live with a life-long record, despite rehabilitation, completed sentences, poor youthful decisions, or time passed since the violation(s).

One bad choice can affect that person’s life forever, and judging entities (prospective employers, living communities, etc.) won’t always overlook the age of the offense or give the person a chance to explain the circumstances.

Some records can be sealed or expunged after many years have passed. However, the offender must have money for an attorney or processing fees. Thus, people who don’t have the funds to request expungements are at the mercy of all the parties who judge them, while more fortunate people can make their records disappear. 

Now you have some information about crimes and their classifications. Hopefully, you and your loved ones make wise decisions and never face the detriments of criminal prosecution. 

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