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The following is for informational purposes only

What is a Class C Misdemeanor?

What is a Misdemeanor?

Misdemeanors are the charge typically applied to lesser crimes involving criminality; the child that jaywalks faces an infraction, while their older cousins see misdemeanor charges after graffitiing the museum.

The difference in these crimes is distinctive; the child’s act is not a criminal offense but breaking a rule. Graffiti, however, requires more than a small fine. Often, the consequences of a misdemeanor include fines and jail sentences of less than a year.

What are Classes and Levels, and Why Do They Matter?

Concerning the former, "Classes" and "Levels" are descriptive words for the severity of a crime; these terms are used in conjunction with a letter or number, indicative of further categorization. Thus, some states use "Class A" or "Level 1" felonies to indicate their most horrendous crimes. Other states reject organizational methods and decide on crimes in a case-by-case instance.

Further, the classification of a crime may be decided by the accused’s intention during the crime itself. Many states refer to this intention by identifying certain crimes with a level of "degree". First, second, third, and fourth are all common degrees, each with its flavor of perspective.

Regarding the latter, these categorizations matter because they are based on precedence—they help determine punishments. This is why it is a big deal to be charged with a Class A misdemeanor; the consequences will be more severe than a lower Class of crime. Laws in states with these judicial practices are typically easy to learn—since anyone can look up almost any crime.

Classifications Can Be Increased Depending on Circumstances

Classes can also be increased if there are enough aggravating factors at play. Things like unnecessary violence or if there was a weapon present are some of the more common causes of the increase.

However, other circumstances can also be looked at to determine a just punishment; things like habitual criminal actions, probation violations, past crimes, and the expected likelihood of re-offense play a role.

What is a Class C Misdemeanor vs. a Class C Felony?

Hitherto, we’ve learned that a misdemeanor is a charge applied to a lesser crime. Some states use classifications to apply punishments better and for citizens to understand the laws themselves. What about crimes that aren’t misdemeanors?

The federal government, for example, recognizes two "types" of crimes: misdemeanors and felonies. The dichotomy is found in many states, but others use individual cases or gross/not gross misdemeanor systems. As mentioned before, felonies are the more severe charges that can be applied to a case. States can carry death sentences for Class A felonies.

What does a Class C misdemeanor look like? It can look like arguing with police officers—granting yourself a disorderly conduct charge. It could look like the harassment charges put on Steve for shoving Dave at the barbecue. These charges sometimes apply to those who remove shopping carts from store property. They look like the charges applied to the intruder trespassing on a fenced property.

What does a Class C felony look like? These are more severe; road rage turns into a vehicular homicide, for example. Unintended rape is another Class C felony crime. These charges can also be applied to the accused who planned and executed arson. Crimes like owning child pornography can get these charges too.

Frequently Asked Questions about Class C Misdemeanors

What States Charge with a Class C Misdemeanor?

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona (3), Arkansas, Colorado (3), Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa (simple), Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska (III), North Carolina (3), Ohio (third), Oregon, Pennsylvania (third degree), South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia (3), and Wisconsin.

Do Class C Misdemeanors Show Up on Background Checks?

The answer to this question, as with many questions in life, is "it depends". Many elements go into background checks. These are some of the playing factors:

  • Employers and landlords can run a background check for felonies or misdemeanors in many states. If they only run a check for felonies, they’ll never see the misdemeanor charges. Otherwise, they’ll see the charges, but they won’t see anything pending, dropped, or dismissed.
  • Most background checks only look seven years into the past; anything that happened before isn’t there. It’s important to note that there are background checks that look far further, however. Careers involving children, for example, often draw extensive background checks.
  • Some states allow for "expungement" of misdemeanor charges. In meeting specific criteria, the right application can remove misdemeanor charges from a person's record. These criteria are specific and challenging to accomplish for the habitual criminal.
  • Certain employers cannot do background checks for jobs unless the work pays a minimum amount of money per year. For example, Texas doesn't allow for background checks for positions that make under $75,000 a year. This dramatically impacts the work opportunities for those who have charges.
  • Since there are at least nine types of background checks, some look at different aspects of a person's record. Types of background checks include FBI, personal, criminal, employment, financial, and many different "levels". Level background checks may include basic information, identity or education verification, civil court cases, or a social media check.

What are Examples of Class C Misdemeanors?

In Arizona, Class 3 misdemeanors are met with up to a month in jail and/or a $500 fine. Examples of these misdemeanors include: interfering with a parent’s legal custody of a child; failure of a school employee to report drug use on school property; and assaulting another with intent to harm or provoke them.

A similar statute can be found in Kansas, Class C misdemeanors resulting in up to a month of jail and a $500 fine. Misdemeanor Class C is also considered "unclassified crimes" according to state statutes. Some examples of misdemeanors include cases of battery, harassment, disorderly conduct, and property crimes.

Minor crimes in Illinois, Class C misdemeanor, come with a month of jail, two years of probation, and a fine of up to $1,500. Class C crimes include simple assault, where the accused frightens the victim, disorderly conduct, and the illegal storage of guns.

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