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What’s The Difference Between A Misdemeanor And A Felony

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Difference Between When you’re charged with a crime a lot of different things go through your mind. How am I going to fix this? How is this going to affect my job? How am I going to pay for this? These may just be a few questions of the hundreds that are swimming through your head. What about the question, “What does the charge mean?” There are two different types of charges that prosecutors can bring against you – a misdemeanor or a felony. So, what does each charge mean? A Misdemeanor A misdemeanor is a less severe charge than a felony. A misdemeanor is generally punishable by a fine, incarceration in a local jail, or both. The severity of a misdemeanor can also vary. Misdemeanors are broken down into three categories (most to least severe): Gross misdemeanor, misdemeanor, and petty misdemeanor. A petty misdemeanors maximum sentence is usually jail time less than 6 months or a fine of around $500. A Felony Felonies are the most severe type of crime. Felonies are separated by different degrees. Namely, first degree, second degree, third, and fourth degree felonies. Generally a first degree felony is for someone who actually committed the crime. A second degree felony is for someone who helped or allowed the crime to be committed. A third degree felony is generally for those that helped plan the crime or knew about it before it took place. Finally, a fourth degree felony is for a person that helped after the crime took place. The punishment for felonies varies depending on the severity of the case. Depending on the state, felonies are defined by not only the length of the potential incarceration, but also where the accused would be incarcerated. Punishments can range anywhere from incarceration, fines, to the death penalty. Other Types Of Charges Are there other types of charges? Yes, there are. In some states, like California, there are crimes that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, these are known as “wobblers.” Sometimes these “wobbler” cases will be prosecuted as a felony and then will be reduced down to a misdemeanor by a sentencing court. Besides felonies and misdemeanors there are also infractions. These are generally the least severe type of crime. These type of infractions usually include things like jay-walking, traffic tickets, etc. The punishments for these infractions are usually a small fine and a very little to no time in jail. When charged with a crime the prosecuting attorney will try to charge you with the most severe charge that he can prosecute you with. A quality attorney can, depending on the evidence brought against you, possibly get your charges reduced against you. They may be able to reduce your charge from a felony to a misdemeanor, or a gross misdemeanor to an ordinary misdemeanor. Contact us today to see if we can help you with your case!

Bradley Corbett

Bradley Corbett is a criminal defense attorney in San Diego. He graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo Utah in 2004. Later he enrolled at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego where he participated in a prestigious internship program with the Los Angeles County Public Defender. Since then he has handled over 2,000 cases.

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