Felony vs. Misdemeanor: What you Need to Know
One of the questions people who have been charged with a crime ask involves the difference between a felony and misdemeanor crime. There are a few basic differences, with the main one being that misdemeanors are typically crimes against property, while felonies tend to be crimes against people.
Misdemeanors are typically not violent in nature, and include things such as forgery, petty theft and vandalism. Felonies on the other hand typically are violent, and may involve sexual assault, kidnapping, assault or even murder. An exception would be certain drug offenses, which are felonies due to the severe effects they have on society as a whole.Some crimes can be considered either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending upon the circumstances. For example, reckless driving is normally considered a misdemeanor; however, when it involves the death of another, charges could be elevated to vehicular homicide, which would be a felony offense.Many misdemeanors carry only fines, community service, or very short jail sentences. Felonies tend to have jail sentences that are longer than one year in length along with fines that are significantly higher. Some felonies may also be subject to minimum sentencing guidelines.
All criminal charges are serious, regardless of whether they are felonies or misdemeanors. That’s because having a prior arrest can affect a future sentence, regardless of whether the new charge is a felony or misdemeanor. As such, defendants are encouraged to seek legal counsel any time they are charged with a crime, no matter what the offense is.