Classes of Misdemeanors Law & Legal Definition


In the U.S. misdemeanors are divided into several classes according to their severity, with certain classes punishable by jail time and others carrying only a fine. When a statute does not specify the class, it is referred to as an unclassified misdemeanor. The classification of misdemeanors varies by jurisdiction and crime. For example, in Ohio, misdemeanors are divided into five ranges, levels one through four, and minor misdemeanors. Misdemeanor one is the highest level. Minor misdemeanor offenses are typically charges such as speeding or red light violations.

Virginia has four classes of misdemeanors, with Class 1 and Class 2 misdemeanors being punishable by twelve-month and six-month jail sentences, respectively, and Class 3 and Class 4 misdemeanors being non-jail offenses payable by fines. First-time marijuana possession is an unclassified misdemeanor punishable by serving up to 30 days in jail.

In Wisconsin misdemeanors are classified into Class A misdemeanor, Class B misdemeanor, and Class C misdemeanor. The penalty for a Class A misdemeanor may include a fine up to $10,000, or imprisonment for up to 9 months, or both; however, for a repeat offender, the term of imprisonment may increase up to 2 years. The penalty for a Class B misdemeanor may include a fine up to $1,000, or imprisonment for up to 90 days, or both; however, for a repeat offender, the term of imprisonment increase up to 2 years. The penalty for a Class C misdemeanor may include a fine up to $500, or imprisonment for up to 30 days, or both; however, for a repeat offender, the term of imprisonment increase up to 2 years.

In Oregon, according to ORS § 161.555 misdemeanors are classified into Class A, B C misdemeanors and unclassified misdemeanors. It is further provided that the particular classification of each misdemeanor defined in the Oregon Criminal Code is expressly designated in the section defining the crime. An offense defined outside this code which, because of the express sentence provided is within the definition of ORS 161.545, shall be considered an unclassified misdemeanor.