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The Different Degrees of Criminal Charges

Facing any kind of criminal charge can be an overwhelming and stressful time. While you’re trying to balance life’s responsibilities along with the processes associated with facing such charges, it can be easy to underestimate the severity of it all. Which is why understanding the type of charges you are facing is so important. In this blog post, we’ll provide a brief overview of the different kinds of charges you could be facing, along with the likely crimes that lead to a certain degree of charge, and what the consequences of each look like. Whether it’s a simple misdemeanor or crime in the first degree, you should be equipped with the knowledge to properly navigate the situation. 


A misdemeanor is the least severe criminal charge, which means the crimes that lead to one, and the consequences of such, are minimal. The crimes committed to be facing a misdemeanor are generally non-violent, like disorderly conduct and shoplifting. Getting charged with a misdemeanor could mean up to six months in jail and fines of up to $1,000.

Fourth Degree

A criminal charge in the fourth degree would be one step up from a misdemeanor, and are considered a low-level felony. Crimes that would lead to a fourth degree charge include some drug offenses, theft of property and certain types of assault. The consequences can be up to 18 months in prison and fines of up to $10,000.

Third Degree

A third degree criminal charge is going to be a little more severe, as these crimes can be punishable by three to five years in prison. You could also be facing fines of up to $15,000. The most common types of crimes that fall under the third degree include aggravated assault, burglary and possession of certain controlled substances. 

Second Degree

A charge in the second degree is one of the most serious offenses, and comes with some pretty severe consequences. Crimes that fall under this degree can include sexual assault, drug offenses and armed robbery. The consequences associated with these charges can range from five to ten years in prison, and fines up to $150,000.

First Degree

A first degree criminal charge is the most severe someone can face, and comes with the most punishable consequences. This can include murder, serious drug offenses and certain types of sexual assault. The consequences can be ten to 20 years in prison, and fines of up to $200,000. 

Get the Best Representation

Knowing and understanding the severity of your criminal charge is crucial to your ability to fight it. The levels of charges can mean a world of difference when it comes to the consequences you face, and how it can affect your life. The most serious criminal offenses could mean you lose your job, right to vote, and other certain liberties given to the average citizen. We at Catanzaro Law understand the complexities of the legal system, and how important the outcomes of your case can be. Having reliable and trustworthy representation can truly make a huge difference in how your experience plays out. This is why our team works so hard to get our clients the best results possible, even in the worst situations. If you or someone you know is facing any type of criminal offense, it is important to act fast and work with the right people. Contact us today for a free consultation, and feel confident you’ll be represented by the best!


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