By Attorney Carlos Gamino

If you’re like many people, you’re aware that there are differences between a felony and a misdemeanor – but you’re not exactly sure what they are. You may even be wondering whether you’ll go to prison for committing a misdemeanor in Wisconsin, so this guide explains.

Do You Go to Prison for Committing a Misdemeanor in Wisconsin?

You won’t go to prison for committing a misdemeanor in Wisconsin. In fact, you won’t go anywhere at all unless the court finds you guilty – and even then, the judge in your case may not sentence you to any time behind bars.

The state of Wisconsin classifies its misdemeanors and assigns maximum penalties that judges can apply for convictions. The most serious misdemeanors have the most serious penalties, which are:

  • Class A misdemeanors, which can send you to jail (not prison) for up to 9 months. You may also have to pay fines of up to $10,000.
  • Class B misdemeanors, which can put you behind bars (again, not prison, but jail) for up to 90 days. You may also be ordered to pay fines of up to $1,000.
  • Class C misdemeanors, with a penalty of up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.

If you’re convicted, the judge decides your sentence – but the maximum penalty for the worst misdemeanor is 9 months in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. You could go to jail for a few months, the full 9 months, or a few days; it all depends on the circumstances of your conviction.

Related: When is theft a felony in Wisconsin?

What’s the Difference Between Jail and Prison?

Some people use the terms jail and prison interchangeably, but that’s not correct. Jails are typically operated by county governments, and they fall under the county sheriff’s jurisdiction. People who go to jail have either been sentenced to serve time there or are waiting to go to court for a trial.

Prisons are reserved for people who have been convicted of felony crimes. Sometimes states own prisons, and sometimes private companies own them. People who are in prison are there for a longer stay than people who are in jail.

Do You Need Criminal Defense After Being Accused of Committing a Misdemeanor?

If the state has accused you of committing a misdemeanor crime, you may want to talk to an attorney. Call our office at 414-383-6700 now to schedule your consultation. During your consultation, you can ask us your questions and get the facts you need – and if we work together, we’ll build a strategy that gets you the best possible outcome.

Carlos Gamino