Depending on the severity of a crime, a person can be charged with a felony or a misdemeanor. Sometimes the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor can be difficult to understand. However, there are distinct differences between felonies and misdemeanors. Felonies and misdemeanors are both offenses that are punishable under the law and fall under the broader category of criminal law. If you or someone you know has been accused of a felony or a misdemeanor, it is important to do your research to understand the difference. We at Kaufman, Nichols, & Kaufman are happy to help you learn the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor and offer you options for representation.
What Is A Felony?
A felony is a crime that is extremely serious. Felonies are often dealt with harshly, especially if in combination with other crimes or if the individual has a criminal history. Usually, if a person is charged with a felony, they will have a long prison or jail time sentence. If a term of imprisonment exceeds a year, the crime is likely a felony. There are different degrees of severity of felonies that have certain punishments attached to them. The word ‘felon’ is used to describe a person who has been charged with a felony at some point. Example of felonies include burglary, kidnapping, murder, arson, or rape.
What Is A Misdemeanor?
A misdemeanor is considered a lesser crime. If a person were charged with a misdemeanor, then they would likely have a jail time sentence of less than a year or would have some other form of lighter punishment such as a fine or community service. Similarly to felonies, misdemeanors have different degrees that are assigned to a person based on the severity of the crime that they committed. Examples of misdemeanors include shoplifting, simple assault, petty theft, disorderly conduct, trespassing, and certain cases of drug offenses and drunk driving.
The Difference Between A Felony And A Misdemeanor
The largest difference between a felony and a misdemeanor is the severity of the crime that was committed. Felonies are more serious than misdemeanors and typically carry longer and more severe penalties. Some crimes are purely felonies or misdemeanors while other crimes can be either, depending on certain situations.
For example, murder and rape are always charged as felonies while trespassing and shoplifting are almost aways considered misdemeanors. However if you are charged with drunk driving, there could be a variety of outcomes. There are several things that could impact whether you would be charged with a felony or a misdemeanor. If you were driving slightly over the speed limit and got pulled over while driving under the influence, then you would most likely be charged with a misdemeanor.
However, the sentence might change under different circumstances. For example, if the person who was driving under the influence already has multiple convictions or has had a few DUI charges before then the charge will likely be a felony conviction. Also, if there were children in the car or if the person driving under the influence injured or killed someone else, then they will likely face felony charges.
Have You Been Charged With A Felony Or Misdemeanor?
If you have been charged with a felony or misdemeanor and are in need of representation we at Kaufman, Nichols, and Kaufman are here to help. We employ several experienced and well-informed criminal defense attorneys who would be happy to take a look at your case. We understand that these types of situations can be stressful and difficult to process, and that is why we are here to help guide you. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions or to set up a consultation.