Misdemeanor offenses include assault, theft, trespassing, vandalism and disorderly conduct. Misdemeanors carry punishment of fines and, in some cases, jail time. Misdemeanors may also be resolved with treatment programs, community service or probation.
A misdemeanor is a crime less serious than a felony, which is a crime that causes significant damage to society or individuals and carries more severe punishments. Lesser misdemeanors generally only result in fines as punishment. States vary on the different classes of misdemeanors. Some misdemeanors crimes are offenses that carry up to a year in jail in many states.
Defendants charged with a misdemeanor crime are generally entitled to a jury trial. Those defendants who cannot afford an attorney may be provided one at the expense of the government. States may subdivide misdemeanor classifications by degree or class, and the more serious misdemeanor crimes are classified as gross misdemeanors. The classification of each crime determines the severity of the punishment. For example, in Missouri, a Class A misdemeanor carries a punishment of a fine of $1,000 and up to a year in jail, while a Class C has a maximum of 15 days incarceration and a $300 fine. Class A misdemeanors in Wisconsin carry up fines of up to $10,000.