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What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?

On Behalf of | Nov 15, 2019 | Firm News |

If you are accused of a crime in Washington state, it is important to know all of the aspects related to your case. If you are unfamiliar with the criminal justice system, you may be unfamiliar with the actual differences between misdemeanors and felonies. Most people are aware that misdemeanors are less serious offenses than felonies, but it is important to be aware of the specifics. According to FindLaw, both felonies and misdemeanors are criminal offenses, but a felony will put you in jail for a year or more.

As stated, misdemeanors are generally given for less serious offenses. Misdemeanors usually involve crimes such as shoplifting or disorderly conduct. The federal government classifies misdemeanors into three different categories: A, B, and C. Class A misdemeanors are the most serious, and we’ll carry a jail term of more than 6 months but less than a year. A Class B misdemeanor will have the potential of jail time of six months or less but more than 30 days. Finally, a Class C misdemeanor will have jail time of more than 6 days but less than 30.

Felony crimes are far more serious in nature. These crimes involve rape, arson, burglary, and murder. If you are accused of a felony crime, you can get anywhere from one year in prison up to a life sentence. This depends on the severity of the crime. Felony crimes tend to be gone after with more precision than misdemeanors. Prosecutors in misdemeanor cases have a lot of flexibility when it comes to determining sentencing, but in felony cases the prosecutor is more likely to adhere strictly to criminal procedure.