Washington Misdemeanor Crimes by Class and Sentences

In Washington, misdemeanors are crimes punishable by up to one year in county or local jail and are classified as misdemeanors or gross misdemeanors. (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9A.20.010.) More serious crimes (felonies) are punishable by state prison terms.

For more information on felonies in Washington, see Washington Felony Crimes by Class and Sentences.

Gross Misdemeanors

Gross misdemeanors in Washington are punishable by up to 364 days in county jail, or a fine of up to $5,000, or both. Crimes that are not designated as felonies or misdemeanors are gross misdemeanors. (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § § 9A.20.010, 9A.20.021.)

Violating a domestic violence protective order is an example of a gross misdemeanor in Washington. For more information on this and related crimes, see Washington Domestic Violence Laws.


A misdemeanor is a the least serious type of crime in Washington, punishable by up to 90 days in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § § 9A.20.010, 9A.20.021.)

Prostitution is a misdemeanor in Washington. For more information on this and related crimes, see Prostitution, Pimping, and Pandering Laws in Washington.

Crimes Committed Before 1984

Different penalties apply to crimes committed in Washington prior to July 1, 1984. (Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9A.20.020.)

Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations is a time period during which the state must begin criminal prosecution. The statute of limitations begins to “run” when the crime is committed. Misdemeanors usually have fairly short statutes of limitations of one or two years.

For more information, see Washington Criminal Statute of Limitations.

Obtaining Legal Assistance

If you are charged with any crime, even a misdemeanor, you should contact a criminal defense attorney in Washington to discuss your case. An experienced attorney can tell you how your case is likely to fare in court depending on the applicable law, the facts, and the assigned judge and prosecutor. With an attorney’s help, you can hopefully obtain the best outcome possible under the circumstances.


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