The Difference Between Misdemeanor & Felony Charges

All crimes are classified into one of three categories: infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. Many people know that infractions and misdemeanors are generally less serious than felonies, but they don’t know exactly why. On this blog, we take a look at the difference between them and discuss how it can seriously impact both your case and your future.

The Primary Difference

The least serious of these types of offenses are infractions, which generally includes things like “moving violations,” or as they are better known, traffic tickets. However, this can also include being cited for a noise violation in your home, or being spotted littering by a police officer.

Misdemeanor crimes are the second-most serious and differ from felonies in the amount in which they can be penalized. Misdemeanors are the first types of crime that can include jail time as a punishment, however, they can only receive up to a year in a county jail time at the absolute maximum. Jail is not mandatory, however; the most common penalty for a misdemeanor is a hefty fine, which state law allows judges to levy up to $1,000.

Felonies are the most serious type of crime, and can be penalized by more than a year in either jail or state prison, all the way up to receiving the death penalty in extremely rare cases. California law also allows those convicted of a felony to be required to pay a fine of up to $10,000 in addition to their imprisonment.

Additional Consequences

Being accused of a felony in California has more consequences than just jail time and a large fine. In addition, those who have been convicted of a felony also face additional penalties once their sentence has been completed. Those convicted of a felony sex crime are required to register as a sex offender every year for the rest of their lives under what is known as “Megan’s Law.”

A convicted felon loses their right to own a firearm for at least 10 years, but could lose it for life if a judge deems it necessary. Additionally, all felonies must be disclosed on job applications, and employers are allowed to deny you a position based on this. Felonies also appear on criminal background history, and certain violent felonies cannot be expunged or sealed.

If you are facing a felony or misdemeanor crime, a Modesto criminal defense attorney may be able to assist you with your case. Attorney Mark Girdner utilizes his experience and knowledge gained as a Deputy District Attorney to defend those who are facing the harshness of the criminal justice system. He has a unique insight into the arguments and logic methods used by prosecutors, which gives him an inside edge when it comes to helping you with your case. When you are facing serious criminal charges, make sure you have a trustworthy and knowledgeable advocate on your side who can fight for your freedom.

To schedule your initial consultation, call the Law Offices of Mark Girdner today at 209.326.1533.
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