Classes of Misdemeanors - Your Quick Guide to Assessing Your Charges
Misdemeanors are known to be a lower level of charge severity when compared to larger-scale charges, such as felonies. The legal system can be overwhelming to try to understand when classing your misdemeanors and evaluating your next right step. Your lawyer can be an asset and help you to correctly navigate the legal process and bring your case to resolution. In this article, we explore the different classes of misdemeanor charges and explain the legal implications of each, as well as review how your lawyer can assist you in resolving your misdemeanor charges.
What is a misdemeanor charge?
A misdemeanor charge applies to individuals in every state and is considered to be a lesser charge in the court of law. There are many different types of misdemeanors, which have been separated by the court system into identifiable classes. Examples of misdemeanors in these categorizations include:
● Traffic-based infractions
● Larceny of theft
● Possession of drugs or other controlled substances
It is important to note that misdemeanor sentencing practices and procedures may vary by state, which is why an attorney is an invaluable resource to you as you go through the process of case resolution. They will be able to provide you with up-to-date information regarding laws in your area, and how they can apply to specific situations in the context of your case.
What are the different classes of misdemeanor charges?
There are different types and synonymous names that you can expect to see when classing your criminal misdemeanor offense. Different states have different definitions of what constitutes these class levels or may have entirely different classification systems of their own. Be sure to consult a legal expert when determining the best possible course of action in order to fully resolve your case.
In the State of California, there are different classifications of misdemeanors. Generally, they will fall into two main categories. These include:
● Standard misdemeanors
● Gross misdemeanors
These two classifications bring with them different iterations and expectations of restitution that may be sought by the prosecution.
Despite standard misdemeanors being a more minimal offense in the State of California as opposed to a gross misdemeanor, this type of offense can still warrant jail time or relatively heavy fine schedules. Many times, this can be given a penalty of a maximum of six months in jail, or over $500 in fines. Misdemeanors indicate offenses that will not have the individual serve longer than a 1-year sentence in prison. It is important to note that for both standard and gross misdemeanors, despite any variation that may come into play given the explicit circumstances, the individual will not face longer than a single year in jail. Otherwise, it would be a different classification altogether.
These are also known by a secondary name of “aggravated misdemeanors.” These types of offenses are generally considered to be more serious than standard misdemeanors, and can lead to up to $2,000 in fines and up to a year of jail time.
What happens if I get a misdemeanor?
There are general steps that will occur in the event of you being charged with a misdemeanor offense.
Depending on the severity of the offense and the context of the circumstances, you may be arrested. This is especially true if there is adequate proof or reason to believe that you have committed the crime. This is not the same as being charged with the crime.
Prior to being charged, you will undergo the arraignment process, which is a court-mandated initial hearing that reviews your situation and the alleged charges. The prosecution may or may not choose to press charges against you.
If they do choose to, you can work with your legal counsel to enter a plea to the court that shows whether or not you agree with their charge. You will do this with either a guilty or not guilty plea.
From there, your legal team may work out a plea bargain with you and the prosecution, or you may face additional court hearings to determine the resolution of your case.
How can a lawyer help me if I have a misdemeanor charge?
Your lawyer can work with you in any case of a misdemeanor or felony charge. Criminal lawyers are trained to understand the process for court procedures and can inform you of what you need to do in order to close your case. Not only can they argue on your behalf, but they can also work with you to get your necessary documents and other paperwork in order prior to key court dates, and be a resource to you in knowing your rights throughout the process.
For more information on how a criminal defense lawyer can help you, contact us today by calling 619-693-6474 or go to this link to schedule a free consultation.