5 Common Examples of Misdemeanor Offenses
A misdemeanor is defined as a lesser criminal act that is less severe than a felony and more severe than a regulatory offense. A misdemeanor is the United States of America is punishable by fines, probation, community service and up to twelve months incarceration. Misdemeanors are often classified into several categories based on the severity of the crime. This category system usually has dedicated punishments.
Being arrested for a misdemeanor may not mean a lengthy prison sentence, but it can seriously affect job prospects and certain civil privileges. For example, a school bus driver that gets his or her first DUI may be illegible for future licensing. It is important to seek proper legal counsel for misdemeanors, no matter how petty. Here are five common examples of misdemeanor offenses.
1. Petty Theft
Theft is an umbrella term that encompasses grand theft, petty theft, larceny, stealing, embezzlement and any other instance of taking someone’s property against their will. In most jurisdictions, petty theft is identified by a value amount. For example, petty theft in the state of Washington, California and most other states in the US is theft of under $500. Anything above that, which any Los Angeles or Seattle criminal lawyer will tell you, is classified as grand theft which can be a felony.
2. Public Intoxication
In some states, public intoxication is a misdemeanor. Public intoxication generally involves intoxicated individuals causing a disturbance in a private or public area. Intoxication can be caused by alcohol or drugs. Public intoxication or drunk disorderly conduct is dealt with on a state level, and because of this the penalties vary greatly. California and Kansas both consider public intoxication a misdemeanor, while Nevada and Montana have no public intoxication laws.
3. Simple Assault
Simple assault is a common example of a misdemeanor. Simple assault on police officers, elected officials and social workers are felonies, an exception to most simple assault laws. Simple assault is defined as assault without the intent of injury. An example of simple assault can be attempting to cause someone physical harm or simply invading someone’s personal space.
Trespassing is the act of someone unlawfully entering, walking on or living on private property. It is common to see “no trespassing” signs on places such as schools and private hunting grounds. Trespassing laws vary among jurisdiction, but are commonly found as misdemeanors. There are certain exceptions to trespassing laws including law enforcement, meter readers and government surveyors.
5. Indecent Exposure
Arguably the most varied misdemeanor is indecent exposure. Since the term “indecent” can mean many different things, it is up for the specific jurisdiction to enforce this misdemeanor. In Washington State, a Seattle criminal attorney would define indecent exposure as intentionally exposing his or her person to another with the knowledge that the action can cause reasonable alarm. Exposing yourself to a minor under the age of fourteen qualifies as gross misconduct, a felony.