A misdemeanor in Tennessee is defined as a crime that is less serious than a felony. The distinction is based on the gravity of the crime committed. If you are arrested for any crime, you will be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony. Although there are parameters that a prosecutor must follow when deciding which class of crime to charge you with, when the accused pleads to the lesser misdemeanor charge, a plea bargain arrangement often comes into play.
In Tennessee, what constitutes a misdemeanor?
Tennessee Misdemeanors can range from robbery to assault, perjury, and trespassing. But how serious was the actual crime, and what was the accused’s intent? For example, suppose a person was arrested for breaking into a house and only stole a $100 DVD player. That is considered misdemeanor robbery. If someone in the house was injured or assaulted during the robbery, the charge will be elevated to a felony, depending on the severity of the injuries.
Assume a group of kids were hanging out in an abandoned building as another example of Tennessee misdemeanors. They could face misdemeanor trespass charges. If they are vandalizing the vacant building, a misdemeanor vandalism charge can be added to the complaint.
Misdemeanor Levels in Tennessee
In criminal proceedings, back and forth wrangling over pleas is common. Defense attorneys want a lesser charge for their clients, while prosecutors simply want the case closed. A misdemeanor charge is far easier to deal with than a more serious felony charge. The following is a list of Tennessee misdemeanors and their associated penalties or fines.
Unless otherwise provided by statute, a Class A misdemeanor carries a sentence of no more than eleven (11) months and twenty-nine (29) days in jail or a fine of no more than two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500), or both.
Unless otherwise provided by statute, the sentence for a Class B misdemeanor can be no more than six (6) months in jail or a fine of no more than five hundred dollars ($500), or both.
Unless otherwise provided by statute, the sentence for a Class C misdemeanor can be no more than thirty (30) days in jail or a fine of no more than fifty dollars ($50.00), or both.
Each of these classifications is applied to a misdemeanor offense in Tennessee. If a person is caught with less than a half-ounce of marijuana, it is considered a Class A Misdemeanor, which is the minimum amount prescribed in a drug case.
Getting your record cleared
If you have been arrested for violating Tennessee misdemeanor laws, you may be able to have your record expunged. This includes deleting any permanent record of the arrest or conviction. Regardless of the outcome of the court, a record of the arrest will remain in the system until it is expunged through the court system. To have a record of an arrest or conviction expunged, you must file the appropriate application with the court.
You are not always guaranteed that your record will be cleared, but if it is a minor offense, a one-time charge, and you completed your sentence, your record may be cleared. To assist you with your case, as with any other matter before the court, it is best to consult an experienced lawyer who is well versed in Tennessee misdemeanor laws.