What Are the Most Common Types of Misdemeanor Cases?

Driving while intoxicated is considered a misdemeanor.
Theft is considered a misdemeanor.
Property damage caused by vandalism is considered a misdemeanor offense.
Some misdemeanors are punishable with jail time.
Resisting arrest is typically classified as a class A misdemeanor.
Trespassing is a common type of misdemeanor.
Article Details
  • Written By: Sherry Davis Zander
  • Edited By: J.T. Gale
  • Last Modified Date: 12 January 2015
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
There are roughly 18 minutes of action in a three-hour baseball game, according to a Wall Street Journal study.  more...

January 27 ,  1973 :  The Vietnam War ended.  more...

Some of the most common misdemeanor cases are for petty theft, driving under the influence (DUI), driving without a license, trespassing, and disorderly conduct. More violent acts such as vandalism, public fighting, assault, and battery also are considered misdemeanors. Many of the most common minor misdemeanors cases include speeding, parking in a handicapped space, running a stop sign, and parking in a fire lane. Each case usually is punishable by up to one year in jail.

Misdemeanor cases usually are considered lesser criminal offenses and incur less punishment than felonies. In the United States, a crime punishable by incarceration for a year or less generally is considered by the federal government to be a misdemeanor offense. Punishment that exceeds a year is considered a felony. States often follow this federal determination.

In the U.S., misdemeanor cases that carry a maximum punishment of one year of incarceration usually is served in a local jail. As a rule, people who commit felonies are incarcerated in prisons beyond a period of one year. Probation, halfway houses, parole, house arrest with monitoring, community service, or weekend imprisonment are some methods of punishment handed down for misdemeanor convictions. Rather than losing civil rights, the loss of privileges usually is a common punishment for misdemeanor penalties. Some examples of privilege restrictions include removal of bonding, revocation of professional license, and removal from public office.


Misdemeanor crime generally is divided into several levels or classes by states and the federal government. Some misdemeanor cases only carry a fine, while others require jail time. Each class that requires incarceration typically carries a recommended amount of jail time to be served. Fines also often are specified per class.

Unclassified misdemeanors are statues that are not noted by a specific class. Lawmakers sometimes do this to enable a penalty that falls outside of the specifics in the classes. One example is where a state may categorize first-time possession of marijuana as an unclassified misdemeanor. The punishment could be a maximum of one month in jail.



You might also Like

Discuss this Article

Post 2

Subway11 -I would like to see stiffer penalties for DUI charges. I think that the first time that you are charged with this offense should automatically be a felony not a misdemeanor because these reckless actions can cause harm to others including death.

It is amazing how we have to wait until someone gets killed in order to upgrade the charges to a felony. If the penalties were stiffer more people would think twice about drinking and driving.

Post 1

I just wanted to say that felonies and misdemeanors differ in the form of the severity of the action and the type of penalty.

For example, a DUI can be classified as a misdemeanor charge if it was the first offense and there was no subsequent injuries to another party.

Although many states differ but if the case is classified as a misdemeanor charge then the defendant might face a fine along with community service and a misdemeanor on their record.

Unlike with misdemeanor theft and minor shoplifting cases, a DUI can never be expunged because this violation is considered a public safety hazard and a record needs to be maintained in case there are additional

charges in the future.

Additional charges might upgrade the offense from a misdemeanor to a felony charge. In DUI cases that involve the death of another party the charges are automatically classified as a felony even if it is a first time offense.

These cases involve charges of vehicular homicide that can lead up to 10 years in prison depending on the state.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?