The United States law has divided criminal charges into different types in order to make sure people face sentencing according to their crimes. A misdemeanor is one of these charges, and it is less serious than a felony, but more serious than an infraction. Misdemeanors have been divided into three major parts; petty misdemeanors, ordinary misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors. Petty misdemeanors are minor cases, while gross misdemeanors are relatively serious and might result in jail time as well.
The law usually gives the judges authority to choose between a misdemeanor and a felony charge. Sentencing for the defendant is carried out according to the charges pressed. In some cases, the judge might decide to sentence the defendant somewhere between the general sentencing for misdemeanors and felonies. For example, a compromise between the two might include an incarceration period and a hefty fine as well. However, some states are strict about their sentencing policies and make sure judges cannot change sentencing according to their own wishes.
The federal government has its own classification of misdemeanors as well; Class A, Class B and Class C. Class A misdemeanors are the most severe, and could result have severe consequences like a year in prison. Class B and C are less severe, and the duration of incarceration decreases from 6 months to 30 days between these two classes. Misdemeanors show up on the permanent record of the defendant as well.
Those who are charged with misdemeanors should consider hiring an experienced defense attorney. The attorney will go through the evidence and come up with a defense strategy accordingly.