Misdemeanor vs. Felony – Complete Guide
Felonies and misdemeanors are both specific types of crimes. Unless you’ve been to court, though, you might not know the difference. While being charged with either type of crime is serious, knowing how each works can give you a good idea of what to expect next. As such, a brief explanation of the difference between the two may be able to help you decide what type of legal help you might need in the future.
What is a Felony?
When it comes to Felony charges California has quite a few. In fact, more crimes might be considered felonies than you expect. Felonies crimes are generally serious, of course, but they’re also generally defined as crimes with more serious consequences. When it comes to Felony charges California keeps it fairly simple – felony crimes are any crimes that carry a prison sentence of more than one year. As such, it’s the felony punishment that tends to define the difference between crimes.
Felony punishment also carries with it a number of other issues, including a revocation of some voting rights and (in some cases) the inability to own a firearm. These are generally fairly serious criminal offenses. Felony crimes also tend to have higher bails, making the bail bond for felony charges even more important.
What is a Misdemeanor?
When it comes to misdemeanor charges California also looks at the punishment as a definition. Generally speaking, a misdemeanor conviction will result in no more than one year in jail. Misdemeanor crimes are less serious than felonies, but they are more serious than common infractions. A misdemeanor conviction tends to be less of a life-altering event than when one gets a felony, but it’s still a serious matter that can have major consequences.
When looking at potential misdemeanor charges California does tend to require a lower bond amount, though misdemeanor bail can still be costly. As such, a bail bonds service still plays an important role. Even if a misdemeanor is a less crime, it’s still one that can have far-reaching consequences.
What They Mean for Your Future
Misdemeanor crimes and felonies are both still crimes. They both go on your record and they can both lead to jail time. While a felony is more significant, it’s important to realize that the punishment for a felony and for misdemeanors can literally be separated by a single day spent in jail. These criminal offenses might stop you from getting a job, maintaining a license, or exercising some of your most important rights. Both types of charges will generally require you to have a lawyer present if you want to mitigate your potential punishment, which means that you may end up spending quite a bit of your money fighting the charge. If you are convicted of either type of crime, you can expect your life to change significantly.
The biggest misconception is that a misdemeanor will somehow not go on your record. While you might not have to report misdemeanors on your employment forms, they can still stop you from getting certain jobs. Likewise, there’s a misconception that any type of felony can stop you from gaining employment or from having a normal future. Many people who have felonies on their records go on to lead normal, rewarding lives after they pay their debt to society.
While most people are aware of having to get bail bond for felony charges, it’s important to remember that misdemeanor bail is a real thing. Because of the fine line between the two types of crime, it’s not uncommon for the court to consider both types of criminals to consider both those who are accused of misdemeanors and those accused of felonies to present a flight risk.
Misdemeanors and felonies should both be taken seriously. They can both impact your future and being convicted of either can put you in jail for quite some time. If you’re charged with either, it’s important that you are able to be bonded out in order to get back to your life. No matter what type of crime you are charged with, it’s important that you take what comes next very serious because your freedom may be on the line.