Crimes are typically classified into various categories. Misdemeanors are crimes that are less serious than felonies. Crimes are classified based on many factors including such things as how serious the crime is and how dangerous it is. It is possible to have some crimes, such as drug possession, be either a misdemeanor or a felony based on the amount of drugs. Misdemeanors are usually less serious and therefore you will face lesser penalties if convicted. Both misdemeanors and felonies are crimes that can carry serious consequences so it’s important to seek immediate professional assistance from an experienced attorney if you are charged with any type of crime.

Types of Misdemeanors

Misdemeanors are categorized into two main types – first degree and second degree. (Some charges also have third degree) First degree misdemeanors are usually minor infractions that include such things as:

  • Driving with a suspended license
  • Violation of a city municipal ordinance
  • Reckless driving
  • Minor drug possession
  • Loitering
  • Making a false police report
  • Harassment
  • Simple assault
  • Retail theft


The most common types of misdemeanors include minor shoplifting charges, and drug offenses. It’s important to note that even minor charges can become serious when it’s the second or third offense of this nature. This will escalate the misdemeanor to a second degree crime or to a felony, depending on the circumstances. Also, the law usually sets apart crimes that are more serious. For example, shoplifting (retail theft) is considered a misdemeanor if the value of the items stolen is under $300. When the value exceeds this amount the charge is considered a felony. The penalties for misdemeanors are generally less than felony convictions.

Penalties for Misdemeanors

The penalties for a conviction of a misdemeanor charge are usually less harsh than penalties for other convictions, including felonies. Some of the most common penalties for a misdemeanor conviction may be probation, fines, and a reduced jail sentence. In many cases, misdemeanors are penalized with a sentence that includes probation instead of a jail term. Probation allows the guilty party to fulfill the sentence without jail time by checking in periodically with an assigned officer. On the other hand, felony convictions have more severe punishments that often include jail time along with higher fines. But just because you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. Actually, you’ll almost always fare better in court if you’re represented by an experienced criminal attorney. Your lawyer will review every aspect of your case and help to present the best possible defense.

Fighting Misdemeanor Charges

Misdemeanor convictions are usually less severe than felony convictions, which can stay on your permanent record for a long time. Being charged with a crime is not the same thing as a conviction. If you have been charged with any type of crime it needs to be taken very seriously. Consult with an attorney as soon as possible after being charged – the sooner the better. Your lawyer will review your case and will work tirelessly to help you fight the charges and protect your rights throughout the case. Many times an astute attorney will successfully get your charges reduced or eliminated. If the case does proceed to court, rest assured that your lawyer will take every step necessary to provide you with a winning defense.