While misdemeanor charges cover a wide range of offenses in Pennsylvania, many do not take treat them with the seriousness of felonies. Felony charges do carry harsher punishments and consequences, but that does not mean misdemeanors should be written off. Misdemeanor charges can result in debilitating consequences both criminally, professionally, and personally. With such consequences, misdemeanor charges should be approached with seriousness.
If you have recently received a misdemeanor charge, you should not hesitate in reaching out to an experienced misdemeanor charges lawyer. With the proper experience and approach, an attorney can help reduce or clear your charges. Doing so will greatly improve both your immediate and future situations. Attorneys at SMT Legal utilize years of experience to interpret evidence, form a defense, and aggressively defend you in the courtroom. Do not let the misdemeanor label fool you into thinking you can face your charges without an attorney.
Misdemeanors in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, misdemeanors are tiered by severity. The tiers are first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree misdemeanors. Each carries its own level of punishment, with the most severe carrying years of potential imprisonment.
Third-degree misdemeanors carry the least severe consequences. With that being said, third-degree misdemeanors can result in maximum fines of $2,500. They can also result in significant jail time: a maximum of one year. Third-degree misdemeanors can be caused by a variety of offenses, including certain forms of trespassing, petty retail theft, and disorderly conduct.
Second-degree misdemeanors can result in penalties including maximum fines of $5,000 and imprisonment ranging from one to two years. Common offenses that warrant a second-degree misdemeanor in Pennsylvania include simple assault, forms of vandalism, coercion, writing fraudulent checks, theft of property between $50-$200, resisting arrest, and endangering others due to recklessness. Second-degree misdemeanors will give you a criminal record and increase difficulty obtaining or maintaining professional certifications.
In Pennsylvania, third-degree misdemeanors are the most severe form of a misdemeanor and carry the harshest penalties. Consequences include imprisonment ranging form two and a half to five years. Maximum fines can reach $10,000. Some offenses that can lead to misdemeanors of the first degree include terroristic threats, endangering children, stalking another person, and multiple DUI offenses.
Some criminal offenses result in ungraded misdemeanors. These offenses do not land on the tiered system used in Pennsylvania. Ungraded misdemeanors result from offenses such as simple marijuana possession or first time DUI offenses. Penalties can range from a maximum of one month imprisonment and maximum fines of $500.