What Are Considered Misdemeanors?

Police Cars Flash Their Lights.

What kind of charges are misdemeanors?

When you are charged with a misdemeanor, although the charges are serious, these crimes are less serious than a felony. The punishments for misdemeanors are less severe than for felonies. Depending on the state and the offense, most misdemeanors are punishable by fines and no more than a year of jail time.

Some examples of misdemeanors include: 

  • Thefts under a certain amount (the amount is usually under $500)
  • Assault and battery, although assault charges could get elevated to felony charges depending on the intent of the offender
  • Alcohol-related crimes like public drunkenness or public intoxication
  • Failure to appear in court 
  • Driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence

How much jail time do you get for a misdemeanor?

Depending on the offense, the maximum jail time you can receive for a misdemeanor charge is 1 year in county jail. California does not classify misdemeanors based on seriousness of the offensense. Instead misdemeanors are either gross or aggravated. Gross misdemeanor violations receive up to 1 year in jail if convicted. 

In California, you are rarely jailed if arrested on a misdemeanor charge, so no bail is needed. Usually you are given a citation that gives you the time and date for arraignment in court.

Should you be arrested and jailed for a violation, you will be arraigned in court and bail will be set for most offenses. If you are wondering how bail works, contact the office of Cut Loose Bail Bonds at 916-663-2245.

Misdemeanor with probation

In some cases, instead of jail time, a person convicted of a misdemeanor charge will receive probation. As with felony probation, you must abide by the rules set down in the terms of your probation, including checking in monthly with a probation officer, paying court costs, receiving drug treatment or counseling, and not committing new crimes. 

Misdemeanor to felony

Many misdemeanor charges can be elevated to felony charges, especially if the offender has committed the same crime frequently, as with DWI. The change from misdemeanor to felony depends on aggravating factors such as a past criminal history, in particular a criminal history that includes felony offenses. Your charges can also get elevated based on the evidence against you. A misdemeanor simple assault charge could be raised to a felony aggravated assault charge, for instance, if prosecutors discover a weapon was involved in the offense. Other aggravating factors include committing a crime against someone vulnerable like the elderly or young children, or committing offenses in the presence of minor.

Possession of illegal weaponry such as a machine gun or an explosive is usually a felony offense. If you’ve been convicted of a misdemeanor and are caught with a weapon, you may be charged with weapons charges.

Misdemeanor vs infraction

While misdemeanors are less serious crimes than felonies, they are still crimes that can warrant jail time and expensive fines. Below misdemeanors are infractions. These are offenses like traffic violations or violations of municipal code that only carry with them fines. In most states infractions are generally not considered criminal offenses, but rather civil violations. Of course, if the offense is serious enough, it could be raised to a misdemeanor. If you are caught speeding a few miles over the speed limit for instance, you get a ticket and have to pay a fine. But, if you are driving at an excessive speed and endangering others, you’re committing a criminal offense.

Do misdemeanors go on your record?

Although misdemeanors are less serious crimes, if you are convicted of a misdemeanor offense, that offense goes on your criminal record, in the same way a felony offense does. Do misdemeanors go away after 7 years? Some people may be confused by 7-year rules that some states like California have that affect background checks. In these states, in some cases, a misdemeanor charge that’s 7 years old or older will not appear on background checks.

Misdemeanor charges, however, stay on your criminal record permanently. They do not go away after 7 years. The only way a misdemeanor goes away is if you petition a judge to have the record expunged or sealed.

A Man Handcuffed.

Can a first time misdemeanor be dismissed?

A first-time misdemeanor is dismissed on a case by case basis. Depending on the type of offense, you can get a first-time offense dismissed by the court, especially if you don’t pose a threat of repeat offense. Usually these offenses are nonviolent. Often you will have to speak with prosecutors or other authorities and present enough evidence to those court authorities that you’ll never commit the offense again for the charges to be reduced or dismissed. You may still have to commit to programs like counseling or community service for the charges to be dismissed and expunged from the court record.

If you’ve been arrested for a misdemeanor in Roseville, CA, and have been jailed, you’ll want to make bail as soon as possible. At Cut Loose Bail Bonds, we can help you arrange for bail. All you have to do is call 916-663-2245.