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What does it mean to be charged with a misdemeanor?

Facing criminal charges is difficult. One of the first questions that you might ask when you are facing criminal charges is what type of charge you are facing. The answer will either be a misdemeanor or a felony. If you hear that you are facing a misdemeanor, your charge isn't considered as serious as if you were facing a felony.

What types of sentences are possible for misdemeanors in Arizona?

Misdemeanors in Arizona are sentenced depending on the class. There are three classes for misdemeanors here with class 1 being the most serious and class 3 being the least serious. A class 1 misdemeanor in Arizona can mean up to six months in jail, a class 2 has a maximum of four months and a class 3 has a maximum of 30 days. It is possible for a person to be charged one class higher if his or her criminal history meets certain requirements.

What types of sentences are possible for misdemeanors on a federal level?

Federal misdemeanors are a bit different from state misdemeanors. There are three classes of federal misdemeanors, each is noted with letter. A class A carries six months to a year of imprisonment, a class B carries 30 days to six months, and a class C carries five to 30 days.

How can a misdemeanor affect my life?

Even though misdemeanors won't have as big of an impact on your future as a felony, you should still think about how a criminal history might make your life change. Some employers won't hire people with certain criminal charges, even if those aren't felonies. For example, a jewelry store might not hire a person who has a shoplifting conviction on record.

You have the right to defend yourself against misdemeanor charges. Find out what options you have and how each can impact your case. Use that information to make decisions as your case moves through the court system.

Source: FindLaw, "Misdemeanors," accessed Jan. 05, 2017

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