A misdemeanor is a criminal charge. Misdemeanor offenses are a lesser offense than a felony, but they are not without penalties, some of which can have very devastating effects on a person's life including the inability to obtain certain jobs, qualify for bonding, or receive governmental aid such as school loans.
Under Wisconsin law, misdemeanors are classified according to their severity. Each misdemeanor classification provides recommendations for jail sentences and forfeitures (fines.) A person convicted of a misdemeanor can be incarcerated into a county or local jail, ordered to pay a fine, or both.
Class A Misdemeanor
The penalty for a Class A misdemeanor may include a fine up to $10,000, or imprisonment for up to nine months.
Class B Misdemeanor
The penalty for a Class B misdemeanor may include a fine up to $1000, or imprisonment for up to 90 days, or both.
Class C Misdemeanor
The penalty for a Class C misdemeanor may include a fine up to $500, or imprisonment for up to 30 days, or both.
Both felonies and misdemeanors are criminal charges, but with one major distinction: imprisonment. A person convicted of a felony will be imprisoned in a state (or federal) prison. Conversely, a person convicted of a misdemeanor is almost always imprisoned in a local or county jail.
Misdemeanor Jail Time
Typically, a misdemeanor penalty will include a recommendation for jail time in a county or local jail not to exceed the period of one year. However, a person convicted of a misdemeanor can be sentenced to jail for a period of more than one year. Additionally, a court can and often will impose a jail sentence and provide for an additional period of time of probation.
Probation and Additional Penalties
In addition to the above penalties, a court can order a person to serve a term of probation for up to two years, or order an entire list of "conditions" or rules that one must abide while on probation. Probation should not be taken lightly by anyone.
Michael R. Cohen
Cohen Law Offices, LLC
17 South Barstow Street
Eau Claire, WI 54702
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