What is considered a misdemeanor in Tennessee?
Tennessee misdemeanors can run the gambit of all crimes from robbery, assault, perjury, and trespassing. But how serious was the actual crime and what was the intention of the accused? For instance, suppose a person was arrested breaking into a house and managed to only steal a DVD player valued at $100. That would be considered a misdemeanor robbery. If during the commission of that robbery someone in the house was injured or assaulted then that classification is going to be bumped up to a felony depending on the extent of the injuries.
In another example of Tennessee misdemeanors, suppose a group of kids were hanging out in an abandoned building. They could be arrested for misdemeanor trespassing. If they are vandalizing the vacant building then the charge of misdemeanor vandalizing can be added to the complaint.
Tennessee Misdemeanor Classifications
The back and forth wrangling over pleas happens all the time in criminal proceedings. Defense attorneys want to get the lesser charge for their clients and prosecutors just want to close the case. It is far easier to manage a misdemeanor charge then a more serious felony. The following is a list of the Tennessee misdemeanors and their subsequent punishments or fines.
Class A Misdemeanor: Sentence can be not greater than eleven (11) months twenty-nine (29) days in jail or a fine not to exceed two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500), or both, unless otherwise provided by statute.
Class B Misdemeanor: Sentence can be not greater than six (6) months in jail or a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500), or both, unless otherwise provided by statute.
Class C Misdemeanor: Sentence can be not greater than thirty (30) days in jail or a fine not to exceed fifty dollars ($50.00), or both, unless otherwise provided by statute.
Each one of those class types is applied to a violation of Tennessee misdemeanor laws. For instance is a person is caught with less than a 1/2 ounce of marijuana, it is considered a Class A Misdemeanor which is the minimum amount prescribed in a drug case.
Expunging your record
If you have been arrested for violating Tennessee misdemeanor laws then you might have the opportunity to expunge your record. This means removing any permanent account of the arrest or conviction. Once arrested, regardless of the court outcome, there will always be a record of that arrest in the system unless it is expunged through the court system. In order to expunge a record of an arrest or conviction you will need to fill out the appropriate application at the court.
You are not always guaranteed that your record will be expunged but if it is a minor offense, a one time only charge and you carried out your sentence you could have your record cleared. As with any matter before the court, it's best to consult an experienced lawyer who is well versed in Tennessee misdemeanor laws to help you with your case. See also:
Tennessee Expungement External link (opens in new window)
Tennessee Felony External link (opens in new window)
Tennessee Gun Laws External link (opens in new window)