In Pittsburgh, as in all of Pennsylvania, not every crime falls under a designated offense category. The most serious crimes fall under “Felony,” and those which are comparatively lighter, fall under “Misdemeanor.” Further, each of these categories is again divided into three more classifications, or degrees, each of which has a different set of punishments.
Some misdemeanors are considered “unclassified” misdemeanors. They are not assigned a degree and are sentenced differently than classified misdemeanors.
To learn more about felonies, misdemeanors, and their degrees, you should contact a reputable Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Lawyer, who can give you all the details about both felony and misdemeanor charges. Our Pittsburgh misdemeanor defense attorneys can assist you.
What is a Non-Classified Misdemeanor?
In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, some of the offenses that fall under the category “Misdemeanor” are unclassified or non-classified, and they do not have any allotted degree. They are usually defined as unclassified because they do not fit into any other category. This may be because the crime is new and has not yet been addressed by legislation, it may be unique in some way, or is not very serious.
The punishments that are given to a person for committing unclassified misdemeanors are decided or set separately from those given for classified misdemeanors.
Things to Know About Non-Classified Misdemeanors
There are only a few crimes that are considered non-classified misdemeanors. Some of the crimes are as follows:
- Selling, delivering, or manufacturing any kind of unadulterated drugs.
- Unlawful pharmacy operations.
Under Pennsylvania law, each non-classified or unclassified misdemeanor has a different kind of sentence.
How are Sentences Graded?
Many factors come into play in determining the punishment for a misdemeanor in Pittsburgh, as in all of Pennsylvania. According to the Pennsylvania Sentencing Guidelines, every crime, whether it’s a felony or a misdemeanor, is assigned a number called an Offense Gravity Score. Also known as OGS, this score denotes the severity of your crime. More severe crimes have higher OGS scores.
Your prior criminal records will also be given a score, called a PRS (Prior Records Score).
The judge who is sentencing you will make a calculation based on the OGS score given to your offense and your previous criminal record. If your OGS number is lower and you don’t have many past convictions, your sentence won’t be as long.
Pittsburgh trial judges have a great deal of discretion when they are sentencing a person who has committed an unclassified misdemeanor, and they will usually sentence you to alternatives, which may include probation or community service.
Mandatory Minimum Punishments
In Pittsburgh, as in all of Pennsylvania, some crimes require mandatory minimum sentences. This means that your judge is required by law to sentence you to a certain number of years in prison. He or she won’t be able to give you a shorter sentence, even if it’s your first offense or there are other reasons that would justify doing so. Examples of crimes that require a mandatory minimum prison sentence are rape, offenses against the elderly, and selling drugs to minors.