In some countries, crimes may be categorized as misdemeanors or felonies. A misdemeanor is generally considered a less serious type of crime than one that carries a felony charge. It is, however, still punishable by law. Many jurisdictions divide misdemeanors into classifications. A Class B misdemeanor is one of those classifications. Many places have Class A and Class C misdemeanor classifications as well. The classifications generally follow severity levels, A usually being the worst, B less severe and C even less severe.
When a person commits a misdemeanor, he is subject to the punishments allowed by the laws in his jurisdiction. In many places, misdemeanors carry lighter punishments than other criminal acts. Often, laws limit misdemeanor sentences to one year or less. In many cases, however, a person does not go to prison for a misdemeanor charge, especially if it is his first offense. Judges may suspend sentences or order community service in some cases; sometimes the perpetrator is placed on house arrest, given weekend imprisonment, or fined.
In addition to prison sentences, community service, and fines, judges in some jurisdictions may set a variety of other punishments. A judge may grant an order of protection in some cases or he may order a defendant into a treatment program. For example, a drunk driver may be required to enter a treatment program for alcoholics. Sometimes misdemeanor charges are even punished with driver’s license suspension.
When misdemeanors are divided into classes, class A charges are usually considered the worst and carry higher penalties. For example, in some places, a person convicted of a Class A misdemeanor may face up to one year in prison as well as a hefty fine. A Class B misdemeanor is one step down in terms of seriousness and penalties. A person convicted of a Class B misdemeanor may face up to a year imprisonment and have to pay a lesser monetary fine. This depends on the jurisdiction, however; some courts may set the maximum sentence for this charge to 90 days.
It’s important to note that minimal sentences may only apply to individuals who have not broken the law on a repeated basis. In some jurisdictions, judges have the power to give tougher sentences to those with poor track records. For example, a judge may increase a Class B misdemeanor sentence to two years imprisonment if he is sentencing a repeat offender. The same goes for the overall choice of punishment. A judge may be more likely to give a repeat offender a prison sentence rather than just community service or a fine.