In the state of Colorado, as in other states, illegal activities are divided into several categories, starting with minor infractions (like a traffic ticket, for example) and escalating to misdemeanors and then felonies. Each classification comes with more serious consequences than the last.
What is a misdemeanor? Do all misdemeanors infer the same penalties? What can you do when you’re charged with a misdemeanor crime? The right legal representative from Curtis Law Firm can guide you through the process, advise you on the best course of action, and help you plan a legal defense to ensure the best possible outcome, but first you need to understand what it means when you’re charged with a misdemeanor.
Misdemeanors may not be as bad as felonies, but they are still crimes and you need to take them seriously. Whereas a minor infraction like a moving violation may come with nothing more than a ticket that you can pay and be on your way, a misdemeanor charge could result in fines, jail time, or both.
What types of criminal activity qualify as a misdemeanor? The list is diverse, ranging from driving misdemeanors related to causing injury or death due to carelessness, to drug misdemeanors (depending on the type and amount of drug found in your possession), to general misdemeanors like forgery, theft, disorderly conduct, trespassing, stalking, and perjury, just for example.
There are also sexual misdemeanors like prostitution and assault misdemeanors like child abuse, domestic violence, and third-degree assault. As you can see, there is a vast array of offenses that fall into the misdemeanor category. Do they all result in the same penalties?
Classes of Misdemeanors
Misdemeanors are broken down into three classes with different levels of associated penalties, as follows:
- Class 3
This is the lowest level of misdemeanor offense, inferring fines of $50-750 and jail time of up to six months. Crimes like criminally negligent child abuse, disorderly conduct, fourth degree arson, harassment, hazing, prostitution, theft (valued at $50-300), unlawful ownership of a dangerous dog, and unlawful possession or use of a driver’s license fall into this category.
- Class 2
Misdemeanors in this class could result in fines of $250-1,000 and jail time of 3-12 months. Crimes in this category could include criminal invasion of privacy, criminal mischief, false imprisonment, keeping a place of prostitution, marrying a bigamist, obtaining signatures by deception, resisting arrest, second degree arson, second degree criminal tampering, theft ($300-750 value), and more.
- Class 1
This is the most serious class of misdemeanors, and charges could result in fines of $500-5,000 and jail time of 6-18 months. Crimes that fall into class one could include aggravated motor vehicle theft, assault in the third degree, child abuse, criminal mischief, defacing a firearm, indecent exposure, obstruction of telephone service, patronizing a prostitute, second degree forgery, sexual assault, and theft (including theft of trade secrets), among others.
When you’re charged with a misdemeanor crime, it’s not something you should take lightly. If convicted, you could face fines and/or jail time, and the crime will remain on your permanent record for life.
A sound legal defense can help you to fight these charges, perhaps reducing the charge and/or the punishment. Contact the qualified professionals at Curtis Law Firm today at (720) 408-7726 to get started.
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