ANN ARBOR, MI - 10/09/2018 — In this article, I will answer the question of what is a misdemeanor? As a criminal defense attorney, I represent many people charged with misdemeanors. It’s important to know the definition of a misdemeanor and what being charged with a misdemeanor might entail.
Put simply, a misdemeanor is a crime that is punishable by up to one year in jail. This is distinguished from a felony. A felony is a crime that is punishable by prison. Jail is incarceration in a county facility, whereas prison is designed for long-term incarceration for those convicted of felonies. As you can see, a misdemeanor is less severe than a felony.
Examples of Misdemeanors
What is an example of a misdemeanor? We’ve all heard of many misdemeanors. There are traffic-related misdemeanors, such as driving on a suspended license, failure to yield to an emergency vehicle, and leaving the scene of an accident. There are also of course drunk driving charges. There are categories of violence-related misdemeanors, such as assault and battery, aggravated assault and domestic assault. Another category of misdemeanor offenses would be theft-crimes, including embezzlement or larceny.
Often, a felony is like a more serious misdemeanor. For example, larceny (stealing) of something valued under $1,000 is a misdemeanor. However, larceny of something valued over $1,000 is a felony. Assault and battery in a fist fight is a misdemeanor, but assault and battery with a dangerous weapon is a felony.
How Long Will I Go to Jail if Convicted of a Misdemeanor?
A misdemeanor is defined by the maximum amount of jail time allowed. In general, misdemeanors may be punishable by 90 days, 93 days, 180 days, or 1 year. The more serious the misdemeanor, the more jail time is authorized. With a few exceptions, whether you go to jail and for how long is completely up to the judge. A judge could order jail time in the amount of the maximum sentence, or for any number within that range. For example, on a misdemeanor punishable by 93 days, a person could go to jail for 93 days or for 5 days. It’s up to the judge.
In general, a person convicted of a misdemeanor for the very first time is unlikely to go to jail, absent compelling circumstances. On the other hand, a person previously convicted of 8 misdemeanors or a felony could be looking at jail time.
Sam Bernstein of ArborYpsi Law is a criminal defense lawyer. Sam can be reached at (734) 883-9584 or by e-mail at email@example.com. ArborYpsi Law is located at 4158 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48108.
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