The difference between petty and gross misdemeanors

In Pennsylvania and much of the rest of the country, misdemeanors can be divided into two categories: petty and gross. What you're accused of affects whether or not you may receive one charge over the other, but just what differentiates these two charges from each other?

According to WiseGeek, petty misdemeanors exist in certain regions and cover crimes that are actually considered less severe than even regular misdemeanors. These are wrongdoings considered to be so minor that they don't even have any corresponding jail time. They can, however, still land you with a fine. Some examples of petty misdemeanors include traffic violations like speeding. They are sometimes called violations, depending on the state vernacular. While misdemeanors are not considered a crime under the laws of some states, they will still go on a person's record.

As for gross misdemeanors, they fall in between regular misdemeanors and felonies. They are not as grievous as the crimes considered to be felonies, but they're more serious than a regular or petty misdemeanor. Examples can include petty theft, certain types of assault, and driving while under the influence. These charges can end up with you serving jail time, paying fines, and having a misdemeanor on your record if you're convicted.

Both manners of misdemeanor charges will still get you a fine, if nothing else. You can also carry with you the stigma of being convicted of a misdemeanor crime, which is why someone facing misdemeanor charges of any sort may want to fight against them regardless.

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