Many people are surprised to learn that there are misdemeanors under our nation’s federal criminal laws. That’s certainly understandable. After all, the most commonly prosecuted (and sensationalized) crimes in federal court seem to involve a wide array of felonies. Bank, Wire, and Credit Card Fraud; Drug Trafficking; Weapon Offenses; the list goes on and on. But it’s worth point out that federal misdemeanors do exist. Now, whether they actually get prosecuted is a whole other story.
If a criminal offense is not specifically classified as a “misdemeanor” in the text of the statute defining it, you might be left with the false impression that “gee, this must be a felony.” But, by law, if the maximum term of imprisonment authorized is 6 months – 1 year, it is a “Class A misdemeanor.” 18 U.S.C. § 3559. 30 days – 6 months is a “Class B misdemeanor,” and 5-30 days is a “Class C misdemeanor.”
Here are a few common and uncommon (non-exhaustive) examples:
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