Under Tennessee’s laws, misdemeanors are punishable by up to a year in jail and designated as class A, B, or C. Felonies are more serious crimes, punishable by one year or more in state prison.
For more information on felonies in Tennessee, see Tennessee Felony Crimes by Class and Sentences.
Class A Misdemeanor
In Tennessee, class A misdemeanors, the most serious misdemeanors, are punishable by:
- up to 11 months and 29 days in jail
- a fine of up to $2,500,
- or both.
(Tenn. Ann. Code § 40-35-111.)
Possession of up to half an ounce of marijuana is a class A misdemeanor under Tennessee’s laws. For more information, see Tennessee Marijuana Laws.
Class B Misdemeanor
A class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $500, or both. (Tenn. Ann. Code § 40-35-111.)
For example, prostitution is a class B misdemeanor. For more information on prostitution and related crimes and their penalties, see Prostitution, Pimping, and Pandering Laws in Tennessee.
Class C Misdemeanor
Under Tennessee’s laws, class C misdemeanors are the least serious misdemeanors, punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a fine of up to $50, or both. (Tenn. Ann. Code § 40-35-111.)
Public intoxication is an example of a class C misdemeanor. For more information on this crime, see Tennessee Public Intoxication Laws.
Statutes of Limitations
A statute of limitations is the period of time during which the state must begin criminal prosecution. The statute of limitations begins to “run” when the crime occurs. Most misdemeanors have one-year statutes of limitations.
For more information, see Tennessee Criminal Statute of Limitations.
Obtaining Legal Advice and Representation
A criminal conviction, even for a misdemeanor, can have serious and lasting consequences. If you are accused of committing a crime in Tennessee, you should talk to a local criminal defense attorney, no matter what the charges. An attorney will be able to tell you how your case is likely to be treated in court, depending on the assigned judge and prosecutor, the law, and the facts of your case. An attorney can help you navigate the criminal justice system and obtain the best possible outcome in your case.