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What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?

On Behalf of | Nov 5, 2019 | Firm News |

Dealing with being accused of a crime in Mississippi is very stressful. However, it is important to understand the difference between the types of crimes that you may be charged with. Many people already know that a felony is a more serious crime than a misdemeanor, but if you are dealing with the legal system it is important to be aware of more details. According to FindLaw, on the federal level there are five different types of felony, but only three different types of misdemeanor. 

The different kinds of felonies and misdemeanors are classified by the federal government in letter classes. For example, there are class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, and Class E level felonies. Meanwhile, there are only three different classes of misdemeanors: A, B, and C. 

The major difference between a felony and a misdemeanor where sentencing is concerned is that a misdemeanor offense means that the accused will go to jail, if convicted, for no more than one year. Felony charges will mean a jail term of longer than one year. 

Traditionally, felony charges are considered to be the more serious crimes. Examples of felonious charges include rape, murder, and arson. Meanwhile, misdemeanors may involve drunk and disorderly conduct, shoplifting, or getting pulled over while drunk driving. Accordingly, prosecutors have a lot of freedom when it comes to deciding sentencing for misdemeanors. 

On the other hand, given that felony crimes are seen as more serious and the penalties are much more severe, criminal procedure is usually followed to the letter in the event of sentencing a felony.