Class C Misdemeanor

What is a Class C misdemeanor? What are the punishments and penalties that can be levied over a person who has committed a Class C misdemeanor? Read ahead to find out.
OpinionFront Staff
Before we proceed towards discussing what Class C misdemeanor is all about, let us first understand the complete implications of the word misdemeanor in legal parlance. The word misdemeanor is ubiquitous in almost all legal systems that follow the common law principle as well as some other judicial systems. Misdemeanors are criminal acts which come under the scope of felonies (read more on misdemeanor vs felony to understand the difference) but above infractions in terms of the extent or impact of the act and the intensity of the punishment. In countries that follow a civil law system, the term contraventions is used for criminal acts that are similar to and covered under the purview of misdemeanor.

Misdemeanors can be classified as well as unclassified. In the United States, acts falling under misdemeanor are classified under several heads, some being punishable by prison term while other being punishable by the imposition of a fine of some specific amount. Now, let's proceed to understand what criminal acts constitute of this class of misdemeanor.

Class C Misdemeanor Charges
So what act of contravention would qualify to be charged under this class of misdemeanor? While it is difficult to exactly pinpoint what minor criminal acts should be included under Class C, the following more or less fit the bill for the purpose of getting charged under this class of misdemeanor.
  • Minor assaults not resulting in death or any grave injury;
  • Assisting in a suicide attempt;
  • Leaving a minor unattended in a vehicle;
  • Reckless damage to any property;
  • Criminal mischief and criminal trespass;
  • Theft of any property whose value is below $50;
  • Falsely reporting that any person or any minor is missing;
  • Issuing bad checks, the payment on which will certainly be rejected;
  • Recruiting an athlete illegally;
  • Committing an insurance fraud when the value of the claim is below $50;
  • Disorderly conduct or chaotic behavior.
  • Contempt of the Court (misdemeanor classification may vary in different states)
  • Shoplifting
  • Violation of probation (misdemeanor class may vary by states)
  • Traffic rules violations;
  • Public intoxication or being in an inebriated state while at some public place;
  • Drunken driving.
All the above come under the scope of classified misdemeanor but the classes may differ from state to state. For instance, say, what is Class A or a first degree misdemeanor in New York may come under this class of misdemeanor in New Jersey.

Class C Misdemeanor Punishment
Most cases of Class C misdemeanor are punishable by fine alone. However, under certain circumstances and for certain acts, punishment by imprisonment may also be imposed. However, such imprisonment cannot exceed the time limit of one year. Among all classes of misdemeanors, those falling under Class C are the ones that are least severely punishable. Penalties imposed upon persons charged for Class C misdemeanor often include a fine, probation and/ or community service. As specified by the United States federal government, the maximum penalty for a Class C misdemeanor can, under no circumstance, exceed 30 days imprisonment along with a maximum fine of 500 US dollars.

Class C Misdemeanor Expungement
You must be wondering that how long after being charged for a Class C misdemeanor does this stay in the legal and criminal records of the state. Well, the general public has access to the criminal records of a person for seven years. However, law enforcement authority have perpetual access to such records. Most Class C misdemeanors fall off the records after the completion of very short time. For instance, traffic tickets get struck off the records after three years of being issued. Criminal background checks can reveal such offenses if performed during this time period but otherwise, these do not show up as criminal records. As far as expungement of a Class C misdemeanor is concerned, the laws vary from state to state. In some states like Tennessee, a Class C misdemeanor can be completely expunged if the charges have been dismissed. This must be accompanied by clearing certain other criteria as well.

Therefore, to summarize, a Class C misdemeanor is an extremely minor criminal act which is mostly punishable by penalty though a short imprisonment term cannot be ruled out. The charges stay on the records for a very short duration of time, usually a couple to five years. Expungement is possible but the conditions and criteria differ from state to state. Hope that helps!