Misdemeanors are crimes that are less serious than felonies. This does not mean that committing such a crime does not have consequences. There are a number of misdemeanor penalties a judge can impose on those found guilty. These include ordering fines, community service, or incarceration.
Misdemeanors can be handled differently from one state to another. In some states there are classifications of misdemeanors. In such instances, those convicted of the more severe classifications are generally susceptible to harsher misdemeanor penalties.
Court-imposed fines are commonly used as misdemeanor penalties. These penalties involve a judge requiring a guilty person to pay a certain amount of money. In some instances, there may be a maximum fine attached to the crime. In other instances, the amount a judge orders to be paid may be limited by the classification of the misdemeanor. There is generally a set date by which the payment must be made.
Conviction of a misdemeanor could result in the loss of liberty. Those found guilty may be sentenced to periods of incarceration. Such sentences are often suspended. When they are not, they are usually carried out in jails. It is relatively rare for a misdemeanor offender to be sent to prison.
A judge may decide not to impose a jail sentence. Instead, he may decide probation is a more fitting penalty. Probation is a punishment that gives a probation officer authority over a person. During the probation period, he is generally required to adhere to certain conditions. These could include an imposed curfew and the requirement to live in a certain place.
Community service is another misdemeanor penalty a judge can order. This involves a person doing work for a community cause without being paid. There are usually a set number of hours the person must complete by a certain date. Examples of community service can include picking up litter from the highway, working at a community center, or helping renovate a public building.
Some misdemeanors arise from traffic-related offenses. When this is the case, a person may have her driver’s license suspended. It is also possible that she may be ordered to attend a driving school.
In many instances, a person is susceptible to multiple misdemeanor penalties. A judge does not have to choose one over the other. He may, for example, impose both a jail sentence and a fine. In many instances, jail sentences are reduced and followed by a period of probation.