Factors That Distinguish a Felony From a Misdemeanor

Lawyer explaining to his client the difference of felony and MisdemeanorCrimes are divided into felonies and misdemeanors in most states. Some states have a third class comprising petty offenses. A felony is the most severe type of crime in all states.

If you are charged with a felony, the first thing you should do is get a good felony attorney in Provo, as suggested by Matthew Jube, Attorney at Law. Specific statutes define the distinction in felonies and misdemeanors. That said, below are some factors that distinguish a misdemeanor from a felony.

The Type of Crime

Misdemeanors are largely non-violent crimes and these include trespassing, vandalism, disorderly conduct, and petty theft. Simple assault and some types of drug possession in first-time offenders can also be considered misdemeanors. Felonies are violent crimes, which cause extreme psychological damage or show extreme negligence. These include manslaughter, aggravated assault, murder, robbery, and vehicular homicide, among others.

Punishment

Misdemeanor convictions usually cause jail time of up to one year or probation. The convict can sometimes serve his or her jail time in a local county jail rather than a high-security prison. Prison sentences for felonies are more than a year and can even attract life sentences or capital punishment. A felony sentence is served at a maximum security prison.

The Consequences of a Conviction

All persons convicted of a misdemeanor and felony after turning 18 years get a permanent criminal record. The record affects your future employment and rights to gun ownership, depending on the crime. Felonies have a more severe effect compared to misdemeanors. It is easy to expunge a first time, low-level and nonviolent misdemeanor from your record. Felony convictions are almost impossible to expunge and carry more grave consequences.

Based on your previous criminal records and your crime’s specific circumstances, a misdemeanor can be upgraded to a felony. There are different classes of felonies and they affect your sentencing. Hiring a qualified and experienced felony lawyer increases your chances of getting a lesser sentence.