Understanding Misdemeanor Offenses

What Is a Misdemeanor?

Many people do not realize just how common misdemeanors are in today’s society. There are three different levels of offenses which include infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. A misdemeanor is more serious than an infraction, but less severe as a felony. An individual who is convicted of a misdemeanor may face up to six months jail, be fined, or receive other punishments. Misdemeanors will appear on background checks as it stays on your record. Some common types of misdemeanors include driving under the influence, disorderly conduct, petty theft, trespassing, and vandalism. 

Common Types of Misdemeanors

Learn more about some of the different types of misdemeanors and the penalties involved below. 

Driving Under the Influence

In all U.S. states, driving under the influence of recreational drugs or alcohol is a misdemeanor if it is the driver’s first offense. A DUI is issued when a driver’s blood alcohol content is 0.08% or higher. Signs of driving under the influence include weaving, drifting into other lanes, speeding or driving too slow, disobeying traffic signals, and more. While penalties vary for each case, it is possible that the defendant will spend time in jail, be fined, have their license suspended, and have to undergo alcohol and drug abuse counseling programs. 

Disorderly Conduct

Disorderly conduct is often known as “disturbing the peace.” Examples of disorderly conduct include public intoxication, fighting, rioting, loitering, unlawful assembly, and violating noise ordinances. Common punishments of disorderly conduct include potential jail time, probation, and fines. 

Petty Theft

Dining and dashing, shoplifting, going into a movie without paying: these are all examples of petty theft crimes. Petty theft involves someone stealing property, and for it to qualify as petty theft in the state of California, the value must be $950 or less. The punishment of this type of misdemeanor may include probation, community service, a fine, or even time in jail. 

Trespassing

When an individual trespasses, they enter someone’s property without permission. Trespassing can occur on both public and private property. In some cases, a person who was allowed to enter someone’s property may be asked to leave and in the event that they refuse, this is also considered trespassing. The consequences of trespassing may include a jail sentence and fine. 

Vandalism

Vandalism refers to the damaging or destruction of property. It is done with intent and can occur on both public and private property. Some types of vandalism include tagging, keying a vehicle, breaking windows, egging, knocking over street signs, and more. Penalties may include community service, probation, fines, and jail time. 

Schedule a Consultation With GFT

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, it is important to contact an experienced lawyer who can advocate for you. The lawyers at GFT can help you navigate your case as they have a deep understanding of California law. We will stand by you, communicating every step of the process so you can feel confident in our ability to achieve the best possible outcome for you. We understand that misdemeanors can greatly alter your life, which is why we want to ensure that you are strongly represented. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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