Every state and the federal criminal code has identified crimes that are less serious than felonies—these are called misdemeanors. Many states break down misdemeanors into further classes or levels that correspond to the seriousness of the offense, such as classes 1, 2, and 3 or classes A, B, and C. Class A or 1 represents the most serious of these, and the severity level and penalties decrease from there (B, C, and so on).
This article will discuss common class B, level 2, or class 2 misdemeanor crimes and penalties.
Class B misdemeanors often represent a state's mid-level or least serious misdemeanor offenses. Every state uses a different classification system, which might include one, two, three, or more misdemeanor classifications. The reason for grouping or classifying misdemeanors is to assign a common punishment based on the severity of the offense.
Here's how it works. Every class or level corresponds to a specific punishment, and every statute defining a crime will indicate the class or level for that offense. So, if the law provides that "harassment" is a class B misdemeanor, you would look up the punishment range for a class B misdemeanor. The state's criminal or penal code might state: The maximum penalty for a class B misdemeanor is six months' incarceration and a $1,500 fine. Thus, the penalty for harassment, in this example, would be up to six months in jail and a $1,500 fine.
Most states' laws carry a maximum possible sentence of one year in a local jail, plus a fine, for a misdemeanor conviction. This penalty applies to the most serious misdemeanors (class A or level 1). A person convicted of a class B or level 2 misdemeanor would typically face a lesser punishment, such as up to 60, 90, or 180 days in jail. The possible fine is also usually less.
Whether someone would go to jail based on a class B or level 2 misdemeanor depends primarily on the person's rap sheet. A judge is more likely to make the person sit in jail for some amount of time if they've committed crimes in the past. A first-time offender, on the other hand, might get probation, community service, or a fine and little to no jail time (except, perhaps, what was served after arrest). Some states offer diversion programs for low-level offenses and a chance to avoid a conviction altogether; these programs are usually one-time deals.
You'll want to talk to your criminal defense lawyer about the possibility of jail time for a class B or level 2 misdemeanor based on your criminal record and the laws in your state.
Here are a few examples of crimes and penalties for class B or level 2 misdemeanors.
Indiana. Indiana has three misdemeanor classes (A, B, and C). The maximum punishment for a class B misdemeanor is 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Examples of class B misdemeanors include obstruction of traffic, unlawful gambling, and harassment.
Kentucky. A class B misdemeanor carries up to 90 days' jail time and a $250 fine in Kentucky. The state uses two misdemeanor designations (A and B). Examples of class B misdemeanors include indecent exposure, failure to disperse, and public intoxication.
North Carolina. North Carolina divides misdemeanors into four classes (A1, 1, 2, and 3). The penalty for a class 2 misdemeanor ranges from 1 to 60 days of active, intermediate, or community punishment. Active punishment refers to jail time, whereas intermediate and community punishment allow alternatives, such as alcohol treatment or community service. Examples of class 2 misdemeanors include unlawful tobacco sales to a minor, cyberstalking, and simple assault and battery.
Texas. Three classes of misdemeanors exist in Texas (A, B, and C). Class B misdemeanors carry up to 180 days' jail time and a $2,000 fine. Examples include criminal trespass, a second petty theft offense, and rioting.
Most states have classified their misdemeanors into classes, levels, or some other ranking system. For details on each state's misdemeanor penalties, consult the state-specific articles below.
|Alabama||A, B, or C|
|Alaska||A, B, or C|
|Arizona||1, 2 or 3|
|Arkansas||A, B, or C|
|California||By crime; if no punishment specified, up to 6 months' jail, $1,000 fine, or both|
|Colorado||1, 2, 3, or unclassified (by crime)|
|Connecticut||A, B, C, or D; or unclassified (by crime)|
|Delaware||A or B or unclassified|
|Florida||First or second degree|
|Georgia||"Misdemeanors" and "misdemeanors of a high and aggravated nature"|
|Hawaii||Petty misdemeanor and misdemeanor|
|Illinois||A, B, or C|
|Indiana||A, B, or C|
|Iowa||Aggravated, serious, or simple|
|Kansas||A, B, C, or unclassified (same as C)|
|Kentucky||A or B|
|Maine||D or E|
|Michigan||By term: offenses punishable by incarceration of up to 93 days, or up to one year; and high court misdemeanors|
|Minnesota||Gross misdemeanor, misdemeanor, or petty misdemeanor|
|Missouri||A, B, or C|
|Nebraska||I, II, III, IIIA, IV, or V|
|Nevada||Gross misdemeanors or misdemeanors|
|New Hampshire||A or B|
|New Jersey||Disorderly person offense or petty disorderly person offense|
|New Mexico||Petty misdemeanor or misdemeanor|
|New York||A, B, or unclassified (by crime)|
|North Carolina||A1, 1, 2, or 3|
|North Dakota||A or B|
|Ohio||First, second, third, fourth, or minor|
|Oregon||A, B, C, or unclassified (by crime)|
|Pennsylvania||First, second, or third degree|
|Rhode Island||Misdemeanor (by crime) or petty misdemeanor (by crime)|
|South Carolina||A, B, or C|
|South Dakota||1 or 2|
|Tennessee||A, B, or C|
|Texas||A, B, or C|
|Utah||A, B, or C|
|Virginia||1, 2, 3, or 4, or by crime|
|Washington||Gross misdemeanor or misdemeanor|
|West Virginia||By crime|
|Wisconsin||A, B, or C|