Felonies And Misdemeanors: Know The Differences

Felonies and misdemeanors are two types of criminal charges that differ in their severity and the potential penalties that can be imposed upon conviction. If you have been charged with either, it's important to understand the consequences and seek legal help. Many crimes can greatly affect your life.


Felonies are serious crimes that typically involve significant harm to others or society. Examples of felonies include murder, robbery, rape, and drug trafficking. Felonies are typically punishable by imprisonment for more than one year and can also result in significant fines, probation, or other penalties. In many cases, those charged with a violent felony won't be offered bail. However, bail can be argued if you have a criminal defense attorney on your side. Your attorney will present evidence that you have ties to the community, a job, and other proof of stability. 


Many assume that a misdemeanor is nothing to worry about. Although a misdemeanor is not as serious as a felony, a conviction can leave you with a criminal record, expensive fees and fines, and even jail time. Misdemeanor crimes typically involve minor harm or violations of the law. Examples of misdemeanors include minor theft, disorderly conduct, and minor drug offenses. In most cases, misdemeanors are not associated with violence. Misdemeanors are generally punishable by a fine, probation, and/or imprisonment for up to one year.

Don't Get Convicted

The distinction between felonies and misdemeanors is important because the potential penalties for a conviction can vary significantly. Felony convictions can result in long-term imprisonment, whereas misdemeanor convictions typically result in shorter terms of imprisonment, if any, and less severe financial penalties. In addition, many felony charges require that the judge impose a minimum sentence. It becomes a lot more important to be found innocent when the judge has no leeway in sentencing. 

Additionally, the consequences of a felony conviction can be more far-reaching, affecting a person's ability to vote, obtain employment, or own firearms. In some cases, a felony conviction may result in the loss of certain civil rights, such as the right to serve on a jury or hold public office.

In summary, the main differences between felonies and misdemeanors are the severity of the crime, the potential penalties for a conviction, and the long-term consequences of a criminal record. To find out what type of punishments you will face in terms of potential punishments, speak to a criminal defense attorney as soon as you are released from jail.

For more information, contact a criminal defense attorney near you.