A misdemeanor is a criminal act that isn’t as serious as a felony, but it’s more severe than infractions that only constitute tickets. In the US, the punishment for a misdemeanor can include arrest, jail time, fines, community service, probation and a criminal record.
Committing a misdemeanor doesn’t always guarantee jail time, but it’s likely to have a negative impact on your ability to find a job, apartment, get a loan or take advantage of other privileges and services.
For those reasons alone, it is strongly recommended that people being charged with a misdemeanor seek legal help, regardless of the severity of the crime.
Below are five of the most common misdemeanors:
1. Basic Assault
In most places, basic assault is considered hurting someone without meaning to injure them. This law can be broadly interpreted depending on the state or even the responding officer.
Assault could mean that you tried to hurt someone, or it can mean that you initiated unwelcome contact, no matter how harmless. An exception to this law is assault on law enforcement personnel or other government employees, which is a felony.
2. Indecent Exposure
This is one of the most broadly interpreted misdemeanors in effect. The word “indecent” means something different to everyone, and its definition depends on the jurisdiction. In most places, it includes willfully exposing one’s private areas to another person or urinating in public.
3. Public Intoxication
In many places, it’s a misdemeanor to be under the influence in public. It is typically defined as engaging in disorderly behavior while under the influence of alcohol, or drugs, on public or private property.
Because this crime is handled on a local level, the punishments for it can differ significantly. Some states, such as Montana and Nevada, don’t have laws against being intoxicated in public, but individual towns and cities may.
This usually means that someone has entered restricted property without authorization. In places where visitors are unwelcome, it’s typical to see signs warning against entry.
Some places treat trespassing almost the same as a parking ticket, but these punishments vary widely by city. Certain people, such as police, utility meter personnel and most government employees, have legal immunity to trespassing laws.
5. Petty Theft
This is a blanket category that holds crimes like petty larceny, white-collar crimes, grand theft auto or any other theft of property.
In most states, petty theft is determined by the value of what was stolen. In Florida, it’s petty theft if the stolen property was worth $300 or less. Any more than that makes it a felony.
Were You Charged With a Misdemeanor in Port Richey, FL?
The legal team at LMW Attorneys has the skills and experience to help guide you or a loved one through a trying time surrounding your case. Were you or a loved one charged with a misdemeanor in New Port Richey, FL? Call us at (727) 478-4125 or schedule a free legal consultation with an attorney to discuss and understand your legal options.