Misdemeanor Guide

Misdemeanor Punishment

What is a Misdemeanor Crime?
Two types of crimes are known as misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanors are the less serious of the two and therefore have less severe punishments. Some examples of misdemeanors include disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, Minor in Possession (MIP), and trespassing.

The Consequences of Misdemeanor Crime
Although misdemeanors do not have as harsh of punishments as felonies, they are still serious and can affect one's future in many ways. Some of the consequences of committing this type of crime include fines, probation, house arrest, counseling, diversion program, and even jail.

Fine amounts for misdemeanor crimes vary based on several factors, such as where the crime was committed, what type of misdemeanor is was, and what the person's criminal history is like. Generally, fines are a couple of hundred dollars but can be thousands depending on the severity of the crime.

Probation is another punishment for committing a misdemeanor crime. It consists of being assigned a probation officer, who the offender will have to meet with routinely, to ensure all expectations are being met. This could consist of random drug and alcohol testing, AA meetings, and counseling.

Popular jail alternatives
A possibility as a punishment for a minor that commits a misdemeanor crime is undergoing a diversion program. It is a program for youth that is intended, in part, to give them a "second chance." It provides education and classes to try and steer juveniles away from committing future crime, and also requires the participants to perform voluntary community service work. If the diversion program is completed successfully, then the misdemeanor crime that was committed usually does not go on the offender's permanent criminal record. Most diversion programs take 6 months to a year to complete.

House arrest is another type of punishment for committing misdemeanor crimes. When an offender is under house arrest, they are required to wear an electronic monitoring device on their ankle used for tracking the offender's whereabouts. In essence, they are forbidden from leaving their house, unless they have prior permission to attend school or work. If they leave their house without getting approval first, the monitoring device will alert law enforcement and serious consequences can apply.

Going to jail
The most severe form of punishment for committing a misdemeanor crime is jail time. Most likely, a first offender will receive a less severe type of punishment such as the ones described above. However, for a repeat offender, or for someone who commits a severe misdemeanor, the possibility of facing jail time is very real. Usually, an offender can get anywhere from 30 days to up to one year in jail for misdemeanors.

Although misdemeanor crimes are not considered as serious as felonies, they can still carry serious repercussions if committed. Applying for certain jobs, colleges, and various other places ask the standard question "have you ever been convicted of a crime?" People that have committed any crime, even a misdemeanor, have to answer truthfully that the answer is "yes" unless they manage to have their misdemeanor expunged. Committing a misdemeanor crime can affect opportunities in more ways than one.

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