Maybe this is obvious to the Americans in this thread, but it isn't obvious to me: How severe are Class A misdemeanors and Class 4 felonies? Specifically, what would be a typical punishment for either, and what better-known offenses also fall into these categories?
Different states have different classifications for offenses. In Illinois, a class 4 felony is punishable by 1-3 years in prison. It is, therefore, the lowest level of felony. A class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in prison, so that's the worst type of misdemeanor. Behavior that would be a class A misdemeanor may be aggravated to a class 4 felony by some special circumstance, as is the case in the anti-hazing statute. So, for instance, theft of property up to a value of $300 is a class A misdemeanor, but steal that property in a church or school and it becomes a class 4 felony.