Charged With “Just” A Violation?
The first level of offense, and the most minor, are categorized as violations. They carry only the potential of a monetary fine (usually not to exceed $500) and no possibility whatsoever of jail time. Common violations include things like speeding tickets, littering, other violations of the motor vehicle code and other comparatively “low level” offenses.
While they may seem “minor” at the time, they can cause difficulties. For instance, traffic violations generate “demerit points,” which can accumulate and cost you your driving privileges. At Law Offices of F. Michael Keefe, PLLC, I can help you determine how to minimize the consequences of these types of charges.
Types Of Misdemeanors
The next categories of offenses are known as misdemeanors, also known as “minor” crimes. These offenses carry the stigma of a criminal conviction on one’s permanent adult record, which can affect things like employment, college admission, military service and other occupations which require trust and/or insurance bonding or handling of public funds. In an increasingly competitive employment market, an incorrectly handled criminal charge can be the difference between getting hired or passed over.
Class A Or Class B Misdemeanor?
Misdemeanors themselves are divided into two levels, being class A and class B misdemeanors.
- Class B misdemeanors carry only the prospect of a monetary fine, not to exceed $1,200 plus 24% penalty assessment attendant with all criminal and traffic fines imposed in the state of New Hampshire.
- Class A misdemeanors have the potential for up to one-year incarceration in the County House of Corrections, along with a fine not to exceed $2,000 plus applicable penalty assessment.
Many Common Crimes Are Misdemeanors
Common misdemeanors include offenses such as simple assault, domestic assault, criminal threatening, criminal mischief (aka vandalism), criminal trespass, shoplifting, theft offenses where value of the property taken is less than $500, possession of marijuana, among others.
Pursuant to statute, in the discretion of the charging authority (usually the police or their prosecutors) a nonviolent misdemeanor offense can be charged as a class B misdemeanor. Driving While Intoxicated first offense is now by statute a class B misdemeanor offense.
This discretion was afforded to law enforcement officers by the legislature, ostensibly to save the state money by thereby avoiding the need for court-appointed counsel for indigent defendants (which right only is triggered when a defendant is potentially subjected to any term of incarceration.). Of course, any person accused of any offense, however minor remains free to hire a lawyer to represent them and assist in navigating through the maze of our criminal justice system.
Call Today For A Free Initial Consultation
At Law Offices of F. Michael Keefe, PLLC, I bring a combination of maturity, real-world experience and real-world values to criminal matters. Call my Manchester office at 603-647-4707 or use my online contact form to make an appointment to meet with me.