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What Is the Difference Between Misdemeanors and Felonies?

When someone is accused of a crime, the charges can vary depending on the severity of the situation. Not only do misdemeanors and felonies affect a person’s criminal record differently, but the consequences also change.

Misdemeanors are much less serious than felony crimes, which means that the penalties are usually much less. For example, a felony crime usually results in longer jail time and higher penalties that need to be paid.

Felonies Are More Serious Than Misdemeanors

Since a felony is considered more serious than a misdemeanor, the punishment is more severe. Typically, nonviolent crimes will fall in the misdemeanor category. Examples include:

  • Shoplifting

  • Disorderly conduct

  • Driving under the influence

  • Trespassing

  • Vandalism

  • Prostitution

  • Resisting arrest

  • Public intoxication

  • Harassment

  • Disturbing the peace

  • Drug possession

Violent and more serious crimes fall under the felony category and might include:

  • Robbery

  • Murder

  • Aggravated assault

  • Domestic violence

  • Illegal drug trade

  • Child abuse

  • Sexual assault

  • Rape

  • Theft

  • Fraud

Many things must be considered when determining whether a crime is a misdemeanor or a felony. For example, if something is stolen, then the value of the theft will influence the level of the charges and consequences. A minor shoplifting incident might be categorized as a misdemeanor, while a bigger robbery would be categorized as a felony because of the higher dollar amount that was stolen.

Jail Time for Misdemeanors and Felonies

Here is a comparison of potential jail time for misdemeanors and felonies:

  • Misdemeanor: The sentencing usually results in jail time less than 1 year but more than 15 days.

  • Felony: The sentencing usually results in jail time that lasts 1 year or more.

There can also be a third option, known as a violation. Even though this situation is not considered a crime, it can still result in jail time for up to 15 days.

Legal Support for Your Criminal Case

It doesn’t matter if you are facing misdemeanor or felony charges; you should also hire the assistance of an experienced criminal attorney. Miles & Hatcher, LLP is here to help. We’ll provide the full-service solutions you need to minimize the sentencing and how your record is impacted. Call when you are ready for your free consultation: (909) 481-4080.

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