Law Information

Misdemeanor Vs. Felony: What’s the Legal Difference?

By April 24, 2018 No Comments

misdemeanor vs felony

An estimated 19 million people in this country are convicted of felony charges.

That may not sound like a lot, but that is about 5% of the whole United States population.

One out of every twenty people.

Felonies are no joke: they can have your voter’s rights taken away, complicate your ability to find work. They can even take away your ability in certain states to receive welfare.

But misdemeanors are different.

Today, we need to talk about the difference between a misdemeanor vs. felony.

Felony vs Misdemeanor

Felonies are the most serious forms of crimes that can be committed. A first-degree felony is the most serious type.

Many states require that the state prosecutor obtain a legal indictment before charging someone with felony charges. Felonies can come with heavy fines and prison sentences of over one year.

If you happen to be convicted of a felony, you are more than likely going to go to prison in a state or federal corrections facility.

With felony charges, the court must provide you with an attorney if you cannot afford one yourself. You are also [at least, on a constitutional level] allowed access to both a jury as well as a speedy trial.

As stated before, felonies come with some sad ramifications. In some places, a person with a felony charge loses all sorts of privileges. They themselves cannot serve as a jury member. Perchance they cannot purchase or own a gun or firearm of any kind. And, there are certain fields of work that they may not go into, i.e., the military, law, or education.

Misdemeanor vs Felony

Misdemeanors are not as punishable as felonies, but that does not mean one should not consider still getting a lawyer for their court date.

Misdemeanors often come with some of their own hefty fines and jail time. However, the jail time is usually less than one year long. The defendant will serve the term in local or county jails [as opposed to in federal or state (like with felonies)].

Misdemeanors are usually for pettier crimes, i.e., small thefts, prostitution, disorderly conduct, (depending on where you live) first time possession, etcetera.

There are some downsides to getting a misdemeanor vs felony. You usually do not have access to a court-appointed lawyer if you cannot afford one. Also, you almost never have access to a jury.

And in several states, misdemeanors can add up to felonies.

No, it is not like sports where they keep a score, but they do keep a personal record of all your criminal convictions, and those things can add up quickly. Especially if you are in jail or if you are on probation, so it is best to err on the side of caution.

Life is Complicated

But the more you know about the law, and the more you know about your rights as an individual, the less it has to be.

There are some huge differences between misdemeanors and felonies. Having knowledge like this can sometimes be your greatest asset if you, God forbid, ever need it.

Make sure to pay attention to the legal system and all of its vernacular.

Questions or Comments? Please feel free to contact us!