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What is Considered a Misdemeanor in PA?

What is Considered a Misdemeanor in PA?

A misdemeanor in PA is a type of criminal offense under Pennsylvania law. It is less serious than a felony offense and more serious than a summary offense. A misdemeanor conviction can result in a criminal conviction and up to five years in prison. Here’s what’s considered a misdemeanor in PA from our Newtown criminal lawyers:

What is a Pennsylvania misdemeanor?

In Pennsylvania, a crime is a felony, misdemeanor or summary offense. The classification of the charge depends on the maximum possible period of incarceration for an individual convicted of the offense. A misdemeanor may carry anywhere from up to one year in jail to five years in prison. A person who receives a misdemeanor conviction has a criminal record.

Even if a person receives a conviction for a misdemeanor offense that carries a certain maximum term, sentencing is up to the discretion of the judge. There is no guarantee that a person who faces charges necessarily gets the maximum possible sentence. In addition, if you’re not convicted of the offense, there is no penalty.

Misdemeanors in Pennsylvania by degrees

Pennsylvania uses a system of degrees in order to classify misdemeanors:


First degree

  • First degree – The most serious classification misdemeanor offenses is a first-degree offense. Penalties include up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Examples of first-degree misdemeanors include repeat drunk driving offenses, assault and theft between $200 – $2,000.

Second degree

  • Second degree – A second-degree misdemeanor conviction may result in up to two years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Shoplifting and theft between $50 and $200 are examples of second-degree misdemeanors.

Third degree

  • Third degree – Although it’s the least-serious of misdemeanor offenses, a third-degree misdemeanor may still bring up to one year in jail in Pennsylvania. You may receive a fine of $2,500. Examples of third-degree misdemeanors are theft under $50 and loitering at night.


What to do if you face a misdemeanor charge in PA?

If you face a misdemeanor charge in PA, it’s important to understand the possible penalties and defend against the charges. Even a misdemeanor charge in Pennsylvania can result in a significant prison sentence. How you respond to the charges alleged against you may have a large impact in the outcome of the case. You have the legal right to defend yourself against the charges.

Even if the case seems hopeless, an experienced criminal lawyer in Newtown can help you understand the options that may be available to you. There may be defenses that you haven’t considered. There may be diversion programs for youthful or first-time offenders. Recovery court programs or even a plea offer because of weak evidence or extenuating circumstances may be an option. If you’re facing a misdemeanor charge, contact us at the Law Offices of Richard Fink for a no-obligation meeting with our team of Newtown criminal lawyers.