Finding An Advocate

What Is The Difference Between A Misdemeanor And A Felony Crime?

There are many different types of crimes committed every day. The type of punishment that is given for committing these crimes depends on their severity. Criminal acts are classified as either misdemeanors or felonies. Usually misdemeanors are considered less serious than felonies and do not require that the person committing them be punished with as severely as those who commit felonies.

These are some of the differences between misdemeanors and felonies and examples of each:


When a misdemeanor is committed, the convicted person may be punished with jail time, fines or both. Usually the jail time is spent in a local county jail instead of a high security federal prison. stem.

Often the punishment for misdemeanor involves jail time that may be less than a year. If the crime is extremely minor, it may be considered a petty offense and the punishment may be very mild. Often petty offenses are punished only by a fine that is paid to the local court system.


Felonies are considered very serious crimes and lead to extensive punishments. Those who are charged with a felony will face a trial before a judge and jury to determine exactly what their punishment will be.

The consequences of committing a felony may involve a combination of a large monetary fine and a long stay in prison. Those convicted of felonies serve their time in state or federal prisons where they will be away from those who have committed less severe crimes. Some felonies are punishable by death in some states and these are considered capital crimes.

Examples of Each

While misdemeanors can vary slightly depending on the state the person is convicted in, these are some common types of crimes that are classified as misdemeanors:

  • Speeding
  • Public intoxication
  • Trespassing
  • Vandalism

Felonies may also be classified in different degrees, such as first, second or third degree depending on the severity of the crime. These are some of the crimes that are considered felonies in most states:

  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Arson
  • Robbery

However, if a person commits the same misdemeanor several times, the charge can be upgraded to a felony. For example, driving under the influence of alcohol is often a misdemeanor the first time a person is charged. If the person continues to do this and has multiple charges for the same crime, he now faces felony charges.

Drug crimes are another example of crimes that may involve both misdemeanor and felony charges. If a person is caught with a small amount of illegal drugs in his possession, this leads to misdemeanor charges. If a person is charged with possessing a large amount of drugs with the intention of selling them, he will be charged as a felon.

To learn more, contact a company like Hammer Law Office.