Criminal law is divided into two main categories: felony and misdemeanor. The crimes in each category may differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction because of how state legislatures and Congress define what constitutes a felony and a misdemeanor. Felonies are more serious crimes carrying more serious punishments, while misdemeanors are lesser crimes with lesser punishments.
The Differences Between a Felony and a Misdemeanors
The main difference between a felony and a misdemeanor is the severity of the crime. What is considered to be a severe crime varies from state to state.
Felonies and misdemeanors can be committed against people, property, or the state.
The punishments for a felony and misdemeanor differ greatly as well. Felonies tend to involve prison sentences of at least a year, fines, or a combination of both, while misdemeanors involve prison sentences of less than a year, smaller fines, or a combination of both. Misdemeanors frequently result in alternative sentencing, such as community service or rehabilitation programs. Very serious felonies can warrant the death penalty.
Examples of Felonies
- Assault: Although not always classified as a felony, assault, if severe enough, can warrant a felony charge. Assault occurs when someone threatens physical violence, causing fear or harm. Usually, assault occurs with the use of a weapon, such as a gun or knife.
- Battery: Battery, which usually is accompanied by assault, occurs when someone actually causes another person physical harm, usually with the use of a weapon or fists.
- Arson: Arson is when someone intentionally sets fire to a building or, in some instances, a natural area, such as a forest.
- Rape: Rape is the act of engaging someone in non-consensual sex.
- Murder: Murder, also known as homicide, is when one person kills another person.
Some states subdivide felonies into groupings frequently called degrees. The lower the degree, the more severe the crime. For example, first-degree murder, which is murder that is premeditated, is considered more severe than second-degree murder, which is not premeditated.
Felony and Misdemeanor Legal Help
If you are accused of or arrested for a felony or misdemeanor, you will want legal assistance, either to help prove your innocence or negotiate a lesser charge or sentence.
Say, for example, you are charged with felony possession, which is when someone possesses a certain amount of an illegal substance, such as cocaine or marijuana. You would want to get the best criminal lawyers you can afford. Thats because sentencing for felony possession can entail multiple years in prison.
Even in situations involving misdemeanors, you may want to seek legal representation. If you cannot afford legal representation, you can have a defense attorney appointed to you. This attorney is known as a public defender.
Experienced and Knowledgeable Representation
Attorney David Studenroth has been defending and winning felony cases for 30 years. Let us put our experience and knowledge to work for you. Call today at 847.292.9200 for aggressive representation in your felony case.
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