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Misdemeanors vs. Felonies

26th March 2010
By Frank Smith in Criminal Law
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The categorization of crimes is determined by the penalties that they receive. Minor offenses are a component of misdemeanors. These trials are usually presided over by magistrates during proceedings because the issues are dealt with when the defendant first appears before the court. In some cases, defendants are not given a right to go through jury trials and this does not compromise any constitutional right. An offense like failure to pay off a traffic ticket, violation of parking stipulations and other petty crimes are usually punished through the payment of fines.

Difference in Punishment

Misdemeanor- When a misdemeanor law is violated, the punishment is typically more severe than what is experienced with petty offenses. The punishment imposed is less serious than felony punishments. Fines may be heavier or one may be imprisoned for a short period of time.

Felonies- These types of crimes lead to serious punishments that test the full extent of the law and these include lengthy imprisonment and hefty fines that amount to thousands of dollars.

Common Sentences

Several offenses can be committed which are classified as felonies. These are serious crimes that can be penalized through hefty fines, imprisonment as well as other severe punishments that can be undertaken. Felonies can be divided into two broad categories. Some felonies are violent by nature while others are not. Another determining factor is how serious the actual crime is and the type of punishment that can be expected.

Some felony related crimes are property based. The crimes in this regard include robbery, car theft, money laundering and fraudulent activities. Over two hundred thousand individuals were convicted of such of crimes in 2000. More than half of such criminals are imprisoned. The length of imprisonment ranges from one to two years. Drug trafficking is also a common felony. Nearly four hundred thousand people were convicted of this particular felony during the course of the year 2000. The state system is responsible for the conviction of a considerably larger number of felons as compared to the federal system. Nearly all drug traffickers serve terms in prison and are often required to undergo some type of rehabilitation program.

Knowing the different types of crimes that exist is essential so as to be able to establish which punishment is ideal for which crime. The lowest level of protection is issued to the category of minor offenses and felony receives a much higher level of protective provisions. The penalties are different in terms of severity.

This article is for information purposes only and not a legal advice.

If you wish to know more about the differences between misdemeanors and felonies, the Dallas based Law Offices of Michael Lowe will be happy to provide you with more information. Click here to contact Attorney Michael Lowe.
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