The Difference Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony

Generally, a felony is a crime that is considered to be a more serious than a misdemeanor. Here, depending on the facts surrounding a felony, a felony can include imprisonment for a period of over one year all the way up to capital punishment.

As noted, a misdemeanor is a crime that is less serious than a felony. In terms of punishment, a misdemeanor will have a punishment of less than one year imprisonment. Depending on the facts related to a misdemeanor, there may be no imprisonment and only a fine.

Misdemeanors in California can include the possession of certain types of drugs, shoplifting or theft of property, simple assault and battery, and assault with a taser. In addition to the imprisonment and fine information above, punishment may also include, probation, community service, or part time imprisonment served on weekends. Also, if convicted of a misdemeanor, a person may lose licenses, public office or employment.

Felonies receive harsher punishments than misdemeanors because felonies are more serious. Felonies may include crimes like arson, burglary, grand theft, sale of certain types of drugs, robbery, rape, and murder. Here, felonies can be determined to be violent or non violent. Examples of non violent felonies are property and drug offenses. The punishment for felonies typically includes prison terms based on the crime that was committed. Other effects of a felony conviction may be ineligibility to purchase firearms, obtaining licenses, and serving on a jury.

If you are involved with a crime and are unsure whether the crime is a misdemeanor or a felony, contact SmartLaw to be connected to an experienced and qualified criminal law lawyer.


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