Blanton v. City of North Las Vegas

In Blanton v. City of North Las Vegas, 489 U.S. 538, (1989), the Supreme Court determined that the most relevant criterion for judging "the seriousness with which society regards the offense" is "the severity of the maximum authorized penalty." 489 U.S. at 541. Although the court recognized that there could be rare situations where a legislature might add penalties that could make a crime more "serious," it established a presumption that crimes punishable by a penalty of six months or less are petty and are not constitutionally required to be tried by a jury. See id. 489 U.S. at 542-43. In Blanton, the Supreme Court considered whether a person charged with driving under the influence of alcohol was entitled to a jury trial where conviction could lead to a six-month prison term or non-prison penalties such as ninety-day license suspension, community service, and monetary penalties. See 489 U.S. at 540.