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The following is for informational purposes only

What is a Class A Misdemeanor?

What is a Misdemeanor?

If you’ve ever driven drunk and Mach-Jesus-ed your truck into a tree, you’ve likely faced a criminal charge. Depending on the state, the accused may face felony charges, while in others, they may face a misdemeanor.

Misdemeanors are interesting because they are usually considered "lesser crimes" than felonies. At the same time, those states who consider infractions part of a criminal record treat misdemeanors relatively severely; infractions are their lowest option for criminal punishment.

How is this Different from Infractions or Felonies?

One may wonder what the differences in the crimes are since severity seems, admittedly, subjective. It is the role of a judge to determine aspects of a criminal case; they decide on (1) the severity of the crime and (2) a just and equal form of punishment for it.

Thus, infractions are considered a lesser charge (if a state uses them), only partially due to their severity. The other part, an infraction, comes from the related punishment for the minor crime. After all, petty candy theft should have a different consequence than auto theft and joyrides.

At the same time, felonies are the worst charges that anyone can face. Their punishment comes with lifetime or death sentences. Felonies are also permanently added to a person’s record—they can never outrun or move on from their charges. Additionally, those with felonies have a considerable loss of rights, including voting and housing rights/abilities.

The punishment of a misdemeanor is not as severe as a drug lord come-to-justice, but it can still be life-changing. For many states, these charges include jail time up to 12 months and imprisonment of less than a year. Community service periods, probation periods, and fines are commonly added punishments.

What is a Class A Misdemeanor?

Forty states utilize grouping organizational standards when determining punishments for crimes. The organizational standards are usually called "Classes" or "Levels", and a crime’s severity dictates the Class. There are also subcategories in many of these states, breaking the punishment and corresponding punishment into further options; these are usually called a particular letter or number (i.e., "A", "1", "Class A", "Level 1").

The best way to demonstrate this is a comparison. Class A felony charges are attached to terrible crimes. In Wisconsin, these are punishable by death. However, Class A misdemeanors in Wisconsin are punished by nine months of jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

Examples of Class A Misdemeanors

A misdemeanor Class A carries less significant punishments than felonies, but they are still difficult to overcome. Depending on the state, the accused could be looking at jail time, fines, imprisonment, and a probation period. Further, state statute partially determines the classifications and punishments of a Class A misdemeanor. Class A misdemeanors include the following:

  • In Alabama, there is a required sentence lasting between three months to a year and a $6,000 fine. These crimes include theft of services worth $500 or less, inhumane treatment of animals, and third-degree assault.
  • Class 1 misdemeanors in Arizona consist of a jail sentence of up to six months and a $2,500 fine. Class 1 crimes include unintentional assault, disorderly conduct, and property theft worth less than $1,000.
  • Meanwhile, Class A misdemeanors in Delaware have jail sentences of up to a year and a $2,300 fine. Examples of these crimes include joyriding, third-degree assault, criminal trespassing of a home, and offensive touching.
  • Class A misdemeanor sentencing in Illinois consists of fines of $25 to $2,500 and up to a year in jail, followed by up to two years of probation. Crimes can include unintentional battery or violating a no-contact order.
  • Indiana considers Class A misdemeanors severe; judges can sentence a $5,000 fine to the accused and a maximum sentence of up to one year. Rioting, public indecency, and petty theft are all Class A misdemeanors.
  • In Kansas, Class A misdemeanors have a $2,500 fine attached to a maximum of one year in jail. Kansas is unique in that they separate crimes based on if the crime was a person or non-person offense. Examples: battery and harassment.
  • Class D is the most severe misdemeanor in Maine. Those accused face up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. These offenses include restraining order violation, joyriding, and unintended assault.
  • Punishments for Class I misdemeanors in Nebraska include fines up to $1,000 and a maximum jail time of a year. These charges are used in stalking, violating a restraining order, and domestic assault cases.
  • Meanwhile, Class A misdemeanors in New York incur fines up to $1,000 and jail time up to 364 days. Examples include third-degree assault, touching someone sexually, and accessing a computer without authorization.
  • North Carolina has different misdemeanor categorizations from the others. Here, Class A1 crimes incur up to 150 days of community punishment. North Carolina is also different in another way: courts can base fines on whatever is appropriate.
  • Class A misdemeanors in North Dakota have a maximum sentence of 360 days and a fine of up to $3,000. These charges are given to people who have: committed assault, trespassed, or property crimes.
  • First-degree misdemeanors are the most serious in Ohio. Charges carry jail time of up to 180 days and a $1,000 fine. Examples include dismissing a restraining order, some cases of petty theft, and resisting arrest.
  • Pennsylvania also refers to them as first-degree misdemeanors, but their punishments are a little harsher. Punishments include up to five years of imprisonment and up to $10,000 worth of fines.
  • Consequences for Class A misdemeanors in Tennessee include jail time for up to 12 months, plus a fine of up to $2,500. These crimes include attempting to start a riot, stalking, and unauthorized vehicle use.
  • Finally, in Nevada, misdemeanors are split into two groups, one being "gross" and the other not. Gross misdemeanors are severe in Nevada, requiring at least two days in jail, 48-120 hours of community service, and a $1,000 fine.
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