The state of Pennsylvania organizes misdemeanors into three basic categories: first, second, and third-degree offenses First-degree offenses are the most serious type of misdemeanor with the most significant possible, while third-degree misdemeanors are the least serious.
For information on felonies, see Pennsylvania Felony Crimes by Class and Sentences.
Sentence Range for Each Misdemeanor Level
Each degree of misdemeanor in Pennsylvania has maximum penalties associated with it, though a court does not have to impose the maximum possible penalty in every case. In any misdemeanor case, a court can impose sentences that include jail time, fines, or both.
- First-degree misdemeanor. Up to five years' incarceration and no more than $10,000 in fines
- Second-degree misdemeanor. Up to two years' incarceration and no more than $5,000 in fines.
- Third-degree misdemeanor. Up to one year of incarceration and no more than $2,500 in fines.
Some misdemeanor crimes in Pennsylvania have mandatory minimum sentences associated with them. For mandatory minimum crimes, a court must impose a specific minimum sentence. For example, someone convicted of illegally operating a motor vehicle not equipped with an ignition interlock system after being ordered to have such a device installed commits a misdemeanor of the third degree. Because the law has a mandatory minimum, a court must impose sentence of no less than 90 days' imprisonment for anyone convicted of the misdemeanor offense.
Examples of Crimes in Each Level
The following list of crimes represents a small sample of the types of misdemeanors offenses in each category.
- Dealing in infant children
- Prostitution for the fourth or subsequent time
- Assault on a sports official
- False swearing in official matters
- Impersonating a public servant
- Disorderly conduct
- Loitering and prowling at night time
- Open lewdness
Find a Lawyer
Misdemeanor offenses in Pennsylvania have significant potential penalties associated with them, and are not something you can take lightly. If you are ever charged with a crime, approached by investigators, or need legal advice, you should talk to a qualified Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney at your first available opportunity. An experienced defense lawyer in your area will be able to evaluate your case and give you advice based on his or her experience with the local courts, prosecutors, and police. You should never make any decision about your case until you have consulted with an experienced attorney.