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What Are the Different Misdemeanor Charges?

Driving while intoxicated is considered a misdemeanor.
Theft is considered a misdemeanor.
Resisting arrest is typically classified as a class A misdemeanor.
Public drunkenness may be considered a misdemeanor.
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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 31 July 2014
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There are often several categories of crime in a jurisdiction. One common category is known as misdemeanors. These crimes are usually slightly to moderately serious. Examples of misdemeanor charges include shoplifting, public drunkenness, and driving under the influence (DUI).

Shoplifting is a criminal act that involves stealing goods that are available for purchase in a store. There are several ways this crime can be executed. A person may attempt to wear something out of a store as if she owned it when she entered or she may try to hide an item in her purse and leave without paying. Her manner of stealing is generally less important than the value. Shoplifting charges generally only refer to theft that does not exceed a certain amount, such as $500 US Dollars (USD).

It is not generally against the law to drink alcohol or to get drunk. It is, however, illegal in many jurisdictions to appear in public while intoxicated. Public drunkenness is one of the misdemeanor charges that generally does not result in incarceration for a first offense. A person is generally ordered to pay a fine and the costs of court.

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A DUI is another of the misdemeanor charges that commonly involves the consumption of alcohol. A person who commits this crime violates the law by driving when he has consumed more alcohol than the law allows for those who operate motor vehicles. A person can also violate this law by driving while intoxicated with prescription or illicit substances. This is one of the misdemeanor charges that can become a felony if a person has multiple offenses.

Prostitution and soliciting prostitution are misdemeanor charges in many jurisdictions. Prostitution refers to the criminal offense of offering sex or sexual activities in exchange for money. Soliciting prostitution refers to charges that result when a person is caught attempting to purchase sex or sexual activities.

Possession of marijuana is one of the misdemeanor charges that greatly varies from one jurisdiction to another. In most jurisdictions where marijuana is illegal, possession is only considered a misdemeanor when certain circumstances exist. For example, the amount should not exceed what the government has defined as the personal use limit. Generally, sale of marijuana may also escalate the charges beyond a misdemeanor.

A person cannot generally rely on any list of misdemeanor charges to guide his behavior. This is because these charges can greatly vary from one jurisdiction to another. Although certain crimes are commonly misdemeanors, there may be some jurisdictions where those acts are felonies or where they are legal.

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Discuss this Article

anon291668
Post 5

What state has more influence from caucus, secret societies and fraternities? I want to find cases to build a master one for so many years of pain and suffering.

lighth0se33
Post 4

I had a friend who was addicted to shoplifting. At first, she got away with putting several little things in her purse. Once she got caught, though, I thought that surely she would be scared straight.

She completed some community service program and got off without jail time. She couldn't seem to stop shoplifting, and before long, she was charged with a second offense. This time, she had to pay a fine.

The second offense resulted in misdemeanor theft charges. She stayed in jail for a short while, and once she was released, she went right back to shoplifting.

However, a third offense makes it a felony. She is now in jail for five years and faced with a $5,000 fine.

shell4life
Post 3

I had friends in college who smoked marijuana, and I was always scared to be around them when they were using it. I just had this image of a cop bursting through the door and taking us all to jail.

They didn't sell the stuff, and they only had enough on their person for themselves. I didn't know at the time whether possession of a small amount would be a felony or a misdemeanor, so I usually made an excuse to leave the house when they broke out the weed.

What really made me mad was when they started smoking it in my car. I pulled over and told them to get out, because I felt that getting caught with weed in a vehicle would be more serious than getting caught with it at somebody's house.

kylee07drg
Post 2

@seag47 – I personally think that a person's first DUI offense should be more than a misdemeanor charge. I think that anyone who endangers so many people on the road should be charged with a felony the first time.

This might prevent people from having second and third DUI offenses. More importantly, if they are locked up, many innocent lives might be saved, because they are off the road.

I feel this way because my friend was killed by a drunk driver. Of course, since she died, he received a felony charge. However, this was his second offense, and if he had been taken off the road after his first one, then my friend might still be alive today.

seag47
Post 1

DUI charges have different consequences in different states. I live in Mississippi, and one of my friends got a DUI misdemeanor after his first offense.

He also got his license suspended for three months, and he had to attend some sort of class where cops teach you all the perils of drunk driving and how it affects other people. He could only get his license back after the class was done.

I didn't know this until he went to that class, but a person can get up to five years in prison for a 3rd DUI offense! Also, they can have their license suspended for as many as five years! That should be enough to motivate people to clean up their act.

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