The differences between misdemeanors and felonies come down to the seriousness of the crime. If convicted of a misdemeanor, the accused can spend up to one year in a local jail. Although that person may instead pay a fine as an alternative to jail time, there are also instances where he or she can be required to pay up in addition to going to jail. On the other hand, the imprisonment term that can be imposed for a felony conviction is a minimum of more than one year in prison. Being charged with a misdemeanor may involve lesser punishments than being charged with a felony, but it is still something you’re likely to carry forever.
Misdemeanors are divided into two classes, with Class A misdemeanors being the most serious. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by 90 days to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $500. Generally, Class B misdemeanors are punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $250; however, the term of imprisonment for possession of less than 8 ounces of marijuana, for example, is capped at 45 days.
Class A Misdemeanors
A wide range of crimes are categorized as Class A misdemeanors, including but not limited to the following:
- Cultivation of less than five marijuana plants
- Theft By Unlawful Taking (TBUT) under $500, for example, Shoplifting
- Operating a motor vehicle while your license is revoked or suspended for DUI if it’s your second such offense in five years
- Theft, criminal possession, trafficking, or unlawful possession of a prescription blank if the first offense
- Knowingly selling or transferring a firearm to a convicted felon
- Violation of a protective order (EPO/DVO)
- Sexual misconduct
- Possession of burglar’s tools
- Forgery 3rd degree
- Tampering with or rigging a sports contest
- Promoting prostitution
- Non-support (under a certain amount)
Many lesser crimes in Kentucky are Class B misdemeanors, including but not limited to the following:
- 1st offense DUI (much like a hybrid traffic-misdemeanor charge, but with some serious consequences)
- Operating a motor vehicle while license is revoked or suspended for DUI (if your first such offense in five years)
- Failure to yield right of way to a funeral procession
- Public intoxication
- Harassing communications
- Resisting arrest
- Criminal trespass in the second degree
- Giving a peace officer a false name or address
You may not realize that even a relatively minor misdemeanor charge will stay on your criminal history record indefinitely…in other words, forever. It could affect your job prospects or qualifications for housing.
Not all charges are eligible for expungement. The following types of charges MAY NOT be expunged in Kentucky:
- Sex offenses
- Offenses committed against a child
- Serious felonies
- Charges for which legal proceedings are pending or currently being instituted
- Charges for which the offender is still on probation
- Federal or out-of-state charges.
With very few exceptions, felonies may not expunged, but most misdemeanors may be expunged is certain conditions are met.
Expungement of a misdemeanor may be granted if:
- At least five years must have passed without any new convictions of misdemeanors or violations.
- The offense was not a sex offense or a crime against a child.
- The person has never been convicted of a felony.
- The person had not been convicted of a misdemeanor in the five years prior to the conviction he or she is seeking to have expunged.
- No charges may be pending.
In other words, a violation or misdemeanor may be expunged if a person’s record is clean five years BEFORE AND five years AFTER the conviction sought to be expunged.
HELP IS AVAILABLE
If you have been charged with a misdemeanor in Kentucky, or if you want to have a previous misdemeanor conviction expunged, call Lexington, KY misdemeanor lawyer Dan Carman. Even a misdemeanor conviction can have undesirable and lasting consequences and should not be taken lightly. Use the convenient online inquiry form or call (859) 685-1055.