What are the Differences Between a Felony and a Misdemeanor?

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What are the Differences Between a Felony and a Misdemeanor?

A person can face a variety of criminal charges for illegal actions ranging from drunk driving to theft to child pornography to sexual assault to murder. Some charges are more serious than others based on the severity of the crime. That’s why criminal actions are split into two categories: misdemeanors and felonies.

What is the difference between these two classifications of crimes? Read on to learn more. 

What is a Misdemeanor?

Misdemeanors are the least serious crimes. They are often classified as such because they are minor and do not result in significant theft or harm to another person. Michigan has three classes of misdemeanors. The least serious misdemeanor could get you 93 days in jail and/or a $500 fine. Next is a misdemeanor that gets you one year in jail. Larceny and shoplifting fall under this category. The most serious misdemeanors are high court misdemeanors, which can get you two years in prison and a $2,000 fine. Indecent exposure and negligent homicide by vehicle are examples.

What is a Felony?

Felonies are typically defined by the length of the prison sentence. The more serious the crime, the lengthier the prison sentence. There are eight classes of felonies in Michigan.

The most serious felony in the state is a Class A felony, which can mean a life sentence. Life offenses include arson, torture, murder, child abuse, kidnapping, and armed robbery. Class B felonies are punishable by up to 20 years in prison and Class C felonies could mean 15 years in prison. Class D felonies include punishment of 10 years in prison, while a person convicted of a Class E felony can face five years in prison. Class F felonies are punishable by four years in prison, while Class G felonies could mean two years in prison. Lowest on the list are Class H felonies, in which a person can jail time, probation, treatment, or other alternatives. These felonies are often fraud-related, such as misuse of information. 

Consequences of a Felony

One of the biggest differences between a misdemeanor and a felony is that a felony can impact a person for a long time—even after they have served their jail time and other court-ordered punishment. When a person is convicted of a felony, the conviction goes on their permanent criminal record. This can impact a person’s career, making it difficult to obtain professional licenses. Plus, felons are stripped of some of their constitutional rights, For example, they are not allowed to vote or carry a firearm.

Contact a Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyer

A criminal charge against you can have serious consequences. Your life and liberty are at risk and can be at risk for a long time.

Whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, you need a strong defense to protect your future. The criminal defense lawyers at Lucido & Manzella, P.C. will vigorously fight the charges against you. Get started with a consultation. Call (586) 228-3900 or fill out the online form.

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