Misdemeanor arrests are not as serious as felonies, but they are more serious than infractions such as a parking ticket. In most states, there are several degrees of misdemeanors with first-degree misdemeanors punishable by the highest fines and a sentence in a local jail.
You can also be charged with a federal misdemeanor, which is governed by federal sentencing guidelines.
For example, a federal Class A misdemeanor typically carries a penalty of six-to-12 months in jail, and a federal Class B misdemeanor carries a penalty of one-to-six months in jail.
We think it’s important for you to understand the five most common types of misdemeanor arrests, so that you are aware of the possible penalties and jail time you could be facing.
Examples of Common Misdemeanors
Although statistics about misdemeanors vary in each state, these five misdemeanors are common throughout the U.S.:
- DUI – An arrest for DUI is often charged as a misdemeanor as long as you didn’t commit bodily injury to another person before the arrest, or you don’t have two or more previous DUI arrests within the past 10 years.
- Assault – An arrest for assault means that your words and actions were intended to cause harm or apprehension of harm in another person and that your actions and words did in fact cause that harm or apprehension of harm in the victim. You don’t have to make physical contact in order to be arrested on an assault charge.
- Battery – Battery is defined as any unwanted and offensive physical contact with another person. It is often combined with an assault charge, as people who act in a threatening manner that implies harm, often carry that action through with physical contact.
- Theft – Theft is defined as taking property that belongs to someone else with the intention of depriving that person permanently of that property. Theft that is charged as a misdemeanor is based on the value of the property that was taken.
- Burglary – Burglary is defined as breaking and entering any building or structure with the purpose of committing a crime. Burglary is distinct from theft, because you can commit theft after lawful entry into a building, whereas burglary involves breaking and entering, and can include theft or some type of assault after a person enters that building.
Protecting Your Rights
Although a misdemeanor conviction may not have the same long-term consequences as a felony conviction, it can affect you in the future. Once you have a misdemeanor on your record, a prosecutor could use that against you if you are ever arrested again. That’s why the lawyers at the McDaniel Law Group, PLLC urge you to contact us as soon as you are arrested for a misdemeanor. The quicker we can provide you with legal counsel, the better your chances are of either having the charges dismissed, or negotiating a plea deal. Please call us today at 202-331-0793 and take advantage of a free consultation.