Types Of Misdemeanor Crime In The United States

A person cannot merely understand the jargon of legal terms and the detailed documentation required. An expungement plea can get rejected just based on insufficient documentation. A qualified attorney eliminates the possibilities of such errors making the process much simpler and more comfortable for the person.

There are two types of crimes: the misdemeanor crime, and the second one is a felony. These are further divided into four subtypes: Petty Misdemeanor, Ordinary Misdemeanor, Gross Misdemeanor, and Felony. In this article, we will understand the difference between all four types of crimes.

What is a petty misdemeanor?

A petty misdemeanor is the lowest level of misdemeanor. It is not considered a crime. It cannot be treated as a crime as there is no jail term for committing a petty misdemeanor. The maximum fine for a petty misdemeanor is $300. Even though it is not treated as a misdemeanor crime, it enters the accused’s criminal record. They do show up in the background check for employment or even purchasing a property. Some employers may let go of the petty misdemeanor charges, but it depends entirely on their decision. Some misdemeanor examples of the crime are speeding, possessing a small amount of marijuana. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can help you get rid of the misdemeanor charges.

An Ordinary Misdemeanor

The very first difference between a petty and ordinary misdemeanor is prison time. If a person is convicted of a regular misdemeanor, he/she can serve up to three months in prison and even a $1000 fine. Less serious crimes are termed misdemeanor crimes. One way qualified attorneys use the ordinary misdemeanor is to lower the penalty in court by proving a crime under an ordinary misdemeanor. The prison sentence and the fine are comparatively much lower than a felony. Misdemeanors also get a probation period of up to 3 years. Some of the common misdemeanor examples are first offense Driving When Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving Under Influence (DUI).


Gross Misdemeanor

Gross Misdemeanor may be termed as a repeated ordinary misdemeanor. If an accused is repeatedly charged with a misdemeanor like drunk driving, prostitution can lead to a gross misdemeanor. Gross misdemeanors are placed between felonies and misdemeanors. Gross misdemeanor crime can get fined up to $3000.

Gross misdemeanor penalty leads to collateral consequences. These consequences are a fair warning to the citizens. Collateral Consequences are civil sanctions provided to the criminal that follow up to the criminal conviction. Some gross misdemeanor examples are revoking driver’s license, license to practice medicine, or any other license profession, finally leading to the collateral consequences of permanent residency loss. The probation period for a gross misdemeanor is up to 3 to 6 years.


Felony as a crime is punishable by prison time for more than a year. Any prison term less than a year is termed a misdemeanor. It is the highest form of crime, and even after completing the sentence, the release is a conditional one. Once convicted of a felony, the consequences may lead to losing some civil rights but not limited to possessing firearms, the right to vote, holding a public office, and serving in the military or any armed forces. Some of the crimes under felony are murder, burglary, extortion, etc.

Consequences of a misdemeanor crime

  • You could lose your eligibility for educational assistance.

If you have committed a misdemeanor crime, getting students assistance in the future is difficult. For example, if a student is charged with possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor charge. It can be bad news. Even though students use marijuana for recreational purposes, it is still illegal to possess even a small quantity. If you are looking for financial aid or a college scholarship, it goes up to 2 years for a misdemeanor charge.

  • Background Checking

A misdemeanor even of the lowest level is linked to the criminal record. Shoplifting for small items, speeding, or even possessing a small amount of marijuana may show up on the criminal record. Not all employers pay heed to a petty misdemeanor, but if you hope to join a grocery store chain or a small business, having a minor misdemeanor charge can mean a big thing.

  • Misdemeanor costs money

A misdemeanor offense can cost money when it comes to a penalty payment, but it costs even more money in the future. Sealing a misdemeanor charge from the criminal record may take up to $2000 or even more, depending on the severity of the crime. In case a person wants to apply to migrate to a different country, a criminal record can be a massive hurdle to get a visa. In such instances, misdemeanor lawyers can assist the convicted person to a large extent to seal the misdemeanor criminal record. But even having to allocate a lawyer to expunge the record will cost a person the money in terms of fees for the lawyer and the court applications.

Why should you get a misdemeanor lawyer?

A defense attorney can tackle misdemeanor crimesin three phases where the accused is asked to plead for the offense as guilty, not guilty, or no contest.

In case of any scope of less or no evidence, the lawyer can suggest the accused go trial.

The attorney can fight the case on the below grounds.

  1. Double Jeopardy
  2. Lack of probable cause
  3. Necessities and Duress