What Is a Class 1 Misdemeanor?
Misdemeanors are crimes that are more serious than petty crimes but less serious than felony offenses. Misdemeanors are divided into Class 1, Class 2 and Class 3 misdemeanors with Class 1 misdemeanors being the most serious. These are also sometimes referred to as Class A misdemeanors, Class B misdemeanors and Class C misdemeanors.
Punishment for all misdemeanor offenses can include being jailed for no more than a year, a fine or both. Class 1 misdemeanors are defined as crimes that carry a maximum punishment of more than six months in jail. Any crime that calls for a sentence longer than one year is deemed a felony, and the offender is sent to state prison, rather than a county jail. Fines for Class 1 misdemeanors usually range from $1000-$2500.
For people convicted of a Class 1 misdemeanor who have no prior convictions, punishment is more likely to consist of probation and community service instead of incarceration. A person on probation remains free but must adhere to a set of rules and restrictions, sometimes including abstaining from alcohol, not associating with other criminals and submitting to random drug tests. Violating the terms of the probation can result in the offender having to serve the sentence associated with his crime. Community service requires that the offender perform a set number of hours performing various tasks that benefit the community as a whole. These must be documented by a credible agency to count toward completion of the sentence. The conviction is often expunged once the terms of probation and community service have been fulfilled. Probation and community service are often handed down as punishments to non-violent offenders.
Other punishments for Class 1 misdemeanors can include the loss or suspension of a professional license. For example, a taxi driver who is convicted of reckless driving or driving while intoxicated may lose his taxi license. Likewise, a certified public accountant who commits fraud may lose his standing as a CPA. If the Class 1 misdemeanor is not related to the professional certification, the license does not necessarily have to be forfeited. If the CPA was convicted of a traffic related misdemeanor, it would likely have little effect on his standing as a CPA.
Upon being arrested for any crime, misdemeanors included, everyone has a constitutional right to an attorney. Depending on the nature of the crime and previous criminal record, an attorney can bargain to get charges reduced or dropped and punishments lessened.