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What is a serious misdemeanor? 

by David A. Cmelik Law PLC

As the name implies, a serious misdemeanor is treated more stringently than a simple misdemeanor. It is an 'indictable' offense, meaning that the charge must be approved by at least a district associate court judge, upon submission of a trial information, sometimes called an indictment, including a list of witnesses and their predicted testimony, called the minutes of testimony.

The judge would have to be convinced that this trial information and minutes of testimony, if unanswered, would result in conviction. In other words, the judge must be satisfied that the indictment on its face provided sufficient probable cause to proceed to trial. Pretrial and jury trial are the next step.

Penalties include fines typically ranging from $430 to $2,560 except for cases that increase the minimum. For example driving while revoked requires a minimum fine of $1,000 and Operating While Intoxicated--First Offense, requires a minimum fine of $1,250.

Serious misdemeanors are more complex litigation than a simple misdemeanors. Serious misdemeanors default to a jury trial and discovery, or, the disclosure of evidence to the defense, is more comprehensive. Depositions, e.g., questioning of the witnesses under oath before the trial and outside the presence of the judge and jury, are allowed. Other discovery process may be available and required.


If you or a loved one has been charged with a felony in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Waterloo, or other Iowa community, note that a blog is not an adequate substitute for actual legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading such a blog nor by sending unsolicited information to an attorney over the Internet. Contact David A. Cmelik Law PLC for an initial consultation today.

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Serious matter serious misdemeanors are serious enough to be considered indictable offenses. The classification includes such commonly charged offenses as Operating While Intoxicated--First Offense, Possession of a Controlled Substance--Marijuana, and Driving While Revoked. Fines typically range from $430 to $2,560, although OWI has a minimum fine of $1250 and driving while revoked has a minimum fine of $1000. If you or a loved one have been arrested for a serious misdemeanor, contact David A. Cmelik Law PLC.

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