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Felony vs misdemeanor, how do they differ?

On Behalf of | Apr 6, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Residents of Tallahassee, Florida who face criminal charges should immediately seek assistance. It’s also important to know the differences between a felony and a misdemeanor.

What is a felony?

A felony is the most serious classification of a crime. Many of the worst crimes are classified as felonies, including murder, rape, kidnapping and grand theft. If a person is convicted of a felony crime, they could end up being sentenced to a significant amount of time in prison or even receive the death penalty depending on the circumstances surrounding the case. Individuals convicted of felony offenses are also subject to hefty fines. Prison terms are spent in a state or federal institution.

When a person is charged with a felony, their case has a trial with a jury deciding the outcome. If the individual doesn’t have their own attorney or can’t afford one, they can have one appointed to their case.

What is a misdemeanor?

A misdemeanor is a crime that’s considered less serious than a felony. Many traffic offenses are considered misdemeanors. If a person is convicted of an offense under this classification, they may face minimal jail time and sometimes a minor fine. In some cases, the person might only receive probation as part of their conviction. If sentenced to jail, the time is served on the local level.

The main differences between a felony and a misdemeanor are the severity and nature of the crime. Due to those differences, the sentences a person receives for a conviction also differ. There are also classes of both types of convictions with the lower letter or number being the most serious.

However, while a felony is always more serious than a misdemeanor, a misdemeanor conviction can still dramatically affect a person’s life. It could impact a person’s ability to get or hold a job, attend school or even secure an apartment.

Facing criminal charges is serious. If you were charged, do all you can to protect your rights.