Individuals who love to watch crime shows on TV may believe they understand the difference between a Misdemeanor or felony crime. However, there are nuances to the law that a person might not be aware of. For this reason, when any person is charged with a crime, speaking to an attorney is beneficial. He or she can explain the charges and a great deal more.
When asked what a misdemeanor is, a person may answer any crime that is not a felony. However, this fails to provide any information for the person asking, as they must know what a felony is to determine how it is different from a misdemeanor. First and foremost, crimes that fall under the misdemeanor category tend to be those that are punishable by up to a year of incarceration. The person may be housed in a jail or prison during this time, although a jail is a more common option. Furthermore, the punishment for this type of crime may include penalties and fines, although none of the above are required. The court has discretion when imposing a sentence in this situation.
A person charged with a felony has committed a crime that is deemed to be very serious and he or she will be incarcerated for more than one year if convicted. In many felony cases, the victim has either been threatened with serious physical harm or has already been harmed in this manner. However, white collar crime and fraud also fall under this category, so a person should not assume if the crime doesn’t involve physical harm or the threat of it that it is a misdemeanor. Furthermore, subsequent misdemeanor offenses may be charged as a felony in certain cases.
Anyone who has been charged with a crime should contact an attorney for assistance. The attorney will be of great help in explaining the charges, why the charge is considered either a felony or misdemeanor, the punishment the defendant is facing in the event of a conviction, and more. This information becomes of great help as the case moves forward, thus speaking to any attorney provides peace of mind, something that is desperately needed in this type of situation.