Misdemeanors vs. Felonies

by | Mar 26, 2021 | Criminal

By Kerry Rosenquist |

What is the Difference Between a Misdemeanor vs. Felony in North Dakota?

If you are being charged with committing a crime in North Dakota, you will either be facing a misdemeanor or a felony conviction. The offense level will depend upon the maximum possible sentence available under the law. For example, misdemeanors carry a max sentence of 360 days in jail. If you are facing more than 360 days in jail, the crime becomes a felony.

          In North Dakota, there are two separate classes for misdemeanor offenses: class A and class B. Below are the maximum penalties, sentencing, and expungement options for misdemeanors in North Dakota.

          Class A Misdemeanor:

  •           Maximum Penalty: 360 days imprisonment and/or up to $3,000 fine
  •           Examples: Domestic assault, theft of value <$1,000

          Class B Misdemeanor

  •           Maximum Penalty: 30 days imprisonment and/or up to a $1,500 fine
  •           Examples: Disorderly conduct, theft of value < $500, prostitution

* While a misdemeanor has less serious penalties than a felony, it can still have serious negative consequences, including jail time that could cause you to lose your job or housing, make it difficult to find employment, obtain housing, or even qualify for a loan.


  •           Maximum Penalty: Up to a $1,000 fine
  •           Example: Traffic ticket, selling tobacco to minors

* While an infraction carries no jail time, if an individual commits three infractions for the same offense in one year, they can be charged with a class B misdemeanor and may face jail time.

          In North Dakota, there are four separate classes for felonies.

          Class AA Felony

  •           Maximum Penalty: Life imprisonment with or without parole
  •           Examples: Premeditated murder, continuous sexual abuse of a child

          Class A Felony

  •           Maximum Penalty: 20 years imprisonment and/or up to a $20,000 fine
  •           Examples: Murder in the heat of passion, sex trafficking of an adult, gross sexual imposition, kidnapping, arson

          Class B Felony

  •           Maximum Penalty: 10 years imprisonment and/or up to a $20,000 fine
  •           Examples: Manslaughter, sexual imposition, aggravated assault, armed robbery

           Class C Felony

  •          Maximum Penalty: 5 years imprisonment and/or up to a $10,000 fine
  •           Examples: Negligent homicide, perjury, theft of a firearm.

* If a felony does not specifically state its classification, it automatically defaults to a class C felony.

          It is important to note that just because a certain charge comes with a maximum penalty that does not mean that will be the automatic sentence. For example, when a judge is imposing a felony sentence, it can order a term of imprisonment (up to the maximum statutory), payment of fines or restitution, restoration of damaged property, or commitment to a treatment facility.

           If you find yourself facing criminal charges, contacting a criminal defense attorney may be in your best interest as they can protect your legal rights throughout the process and help you obtain a favorable outcome. Contact Rosenquist Law Office at (701) 775-0654 or email us at lawinfo@rosenquistlawoffice.com to schedule your free consultation.

*The information contained in this article and on this website is for informational purposes only. This information is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as so. 

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