The ABCs of Misdemeanors
You’ve probably heard the term “misdemeanors” before, but until you’ve been charged with one, you’re probably not that concerned about what a misdemeanor actually is. Let’s take a look.
In Indiana, like most states, crimes are classified on a scale of severity. At the low end are infractions—things like speeding, or running a stop sign. Misdemeanors a more serious than infractions, but not as serious as felonies.
According to Indiana state law, a misdemeanor is “a minor offense punishable by a jail term of not more than one year and/or a fine of no more than $5,000.” The penalty for a misdemeanor is determined in part by the judge, but is dependent on ranges set by law. These ranges are determined by whether a misdemeanor is identified as Class A, Class B, or Class C, with Class A being the most serious.
Class A misdemeanor has a penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine of not more than $5,000 (IC 35-50-3-2).
Class B misdemeanor has a penalty of up to 180 days in jail and a fine of not more than $1,000 (IC 35-50-3-3).
Class C misdemeanor has a penalty of up to 60 days in jail and a fine of not more than $500 (IC 35-50-3-4).
As in civil cases, misdemeanors can be heard by a jury of six jurors. While the defendant can represent him/herself, retaining an attorney is advisable.
If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, in some cases, that record can be expunged. Expungement is a process where the legal records of a conviction or arrest are either destroyed or returned to the defendant. While the process of petitioning the court to expunge records sounds simple, it can be difficult and time-consuming. An attorney can help with this process.
If you’ve been charged with a Class A, Class B, or Class C misdemeanor, a criminal defense attorney can help you wade through the judicial system—whether it’s defending your rights, or expunging your record.
Call the Alsip Law Office to find an experienced attorney ready to stand with you and stand up for you in court.