Misdemeanor Crimes

Georgia Misdemeanor Crimes by Class and Sentences

Misdemeanors often result from one bad decision—driving after a few drinks, for example, swinging a punch or shoplifting an item of clothing. Unfortunately, many people continue to make poor choices after their arrest, minimizing the severity of what they’re facing.

It’s true that misdemeanors are less serious than felonies. You’ll never face years in prison for a misdemeanor, or tens of thousands of dollars in fines. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still stiff consequences on the line, as well as the lifetime harm of a permanent criminal record. Understanding where misdemeanors fit within the justice system and how they’re broken down in the state of Georgia can help someone charged with a misdemeanor choose a proactive approach to protecting their future.

Classes of misdemeanors in Georgia and sentences

Some states, like Alabama, have three tiers of misdemeanors: A, B and C. Others, like Mississippi, classify them by crime. Georgia, however, breaks them into just two classes:

  • Misdemeanors
  • Misdemeanors of a high and aggravated nature

In Georgia, misdemeanors are punished by a sentence of 1 year or less in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Misdemeanors of a high and aggravated nature may be punished with up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

In either case, the judge does not have to include jail time in the sentence (unless required by law) and may instead suspend the sentence or place the individual on probation. As long as the jail time is less than 6 months, the judge may also allow the individual to serve the time on weekends or outside of working hours.

Common types of misdemeanor crimes

Misdemeanors encompass a wide range of crimes, including:

  • DUIs
  • Possession of marijuana less than 1 ounce
  • Public intoxication
  • Theft of an item valued under $500
  • Vandalism
  • Prostitution
  • Trespassing
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Shoplifting
  • Some domestic violence

Individuals might be charged with misdemeanors of a high and aggravated nature for repeat offenses, like a third DUI, or due to certain circumstances, like battery against a pregnant person or a senior. Other crimes, like aggressive driving, are automatically considered misdemeanors of a high and aggravated nature.

The statute of limitations for misdemeanors in Georgia

While felonies tend to have quite a long statue of limitations (or none at all, as is the case for murder), misdemeanors must generally be prosecuted within two years of when the crime took place.

Call our team at 770-720-6336 to schedule an Initial Defense Strategy Meeting with a defense lawyer.

It’s a mistake to underestimate any charge—even a misdemeanor. While sentences for misdemeanors are less severe than for felonies, you still may face jail time, fines, license suspension, court-ordered community service, probation and a lifelong criminal history that can impact your work or college opportunities.

Once your sentence is over, you also must live with the burden of a criminal record. Society may judge your one-time mistake for years to come, cutting off opportunities and limiting your potential.

While the stakes of a misdemeanor are lower in terms of jail time and fines, you can still seek a reduced charge or try to have the case dismissed entirely. You may also be able to avoid a conviction through a pre-trial diversion program, potentially saving you from the hardship of a criminal record.

Take the First Four Steps to Protecting Your Future

If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor or a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature, you need a defense plan that works for your own, unique situation. Take the first four steps to protecting your future and:

  1. Contact us to schedule a time to discuss your situation.
  2. Get clarity on your options by meeting with us.
  3. Pick which option you want.
  4. Execute the plan together

“We had a great experience here when we needed representation for our teenage son. They gave us specific information about what was happening with the case, as well as communicating what was needed from us. Everyone here was extremely nice; they truly cared about our son and the outcome of the case.” – K.B., parent

At Ghanouni Teen & Young Adult Defense Firm, we focus on protecting your future by minimizing misdemeanor charges. Please call our office today at 770-720-6336 to arrange an initial consultation.

If you aren’t ready to schedule your consultation, then click here to download our complimentary ebook 5 Things Not to Do When You’ve Been Charged with a Crime to learn what you need to know to start protecting your future immediately.

We are here to help

If you’re facing a criminal charge and are concerned about the impact on your life, contact us today and schedule a complimentary Defense Strategy Meeting.