Most people have heard the terms "misdemeanor" and "felony" before. While a majority of people know that felony crimes are more serious than misdemeanors, many are unaware of just how vastly the penalties can vary between these two categories of crimes. Generally speaking, misdemeanor offenses are crimes that are punishable by a maximum of 11 months and 29 days in jail, while felonies can bring sentences of one year or more in a state penitentiary. With that being said, penalties can vary greatly depending on which "class" of misdemeanor or felony a person is accused of committing.
There are three classes of misdemeanors in Tennessee:
- Class A: Class A misdemeanors are the most serious types of misdemeanor offenses, punishable by up to a year in jail and fines up to $2,500. Offenses within this category include possession of up to half an ounce of marijuana, assault, DUI, and theft.
- Class B: Class B misdemeanors carry up to six months in jail and fines up to $500. Common offenses in this class include prostitution and reckless driving.
- Class C: These are the least serious misdemeanor offenses, carrying up to 30 days in jail and up to $50 in fines. Class C misdemeanors include speeding, wildlife violations, and other types of petty offenses.
Felonies are divided into similar classes, including:
- Class A: Class A felonies such as manslaughter, burglary, and aggravated rape are the most serious felony offenses. A Class A felony can bring fines up to $50,000 and up to 60 years in prison. A person convicted of a Class A felony will often spend a minimum of 15 years in prison.
- Class B: Crimes such as the creation of child pornography are considered Class B felony offenses. A conviction of a Class B felony can bring up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $25,00.
- Class C: Aggravated assault, fraud, and some other white collar crimes are Class C felonies. Penalties for these types of offenses can include up to 15 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.
- Class D: Class D felonies can bring up to 12 years in prison and fines up to $5,000. Offenses in this category include DUI with injury and failure to pay child support.
- Class E: The least serious type of felony is a Class E felony, punishable by up to six years in prison and $3,000 in fines. Theft of property worth more than $500 but less than $1,000 is commonly charged as a Class E felony.
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If you have been charged with any sort of crime, it is vital you retain the services of a strong criminal defense team to maximize your chances of securing a desirable outcome for your situation. At Parkerson Santel, PLLC, our skilled Murfreesboro criminal defense lawyers have defended countless clients against a wide range of offenses and can provide the aggressive representation you need during this difficult time. As shown by our track record of success and 10.0 Superb Avvo Rating, your case is sure to be in excellent hands.