How misdemeanors differ from felonies

On Behalf of | Sep 14, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

Facing criminal charges in Florida is an overwhelming experience. Whether it is your first time interacting with the criminal legal system or not, it is important to take action quickly to fully understand the charges you are faced with as well as your rights to various criminal defense options.

Understanding misdemeanors

A misdemeanor is more serious than an infraction, which is when there is a violation of a rule, ordinance or a law. In most states, including Florida, a misdemeanor is a criminal offense that carries a potential sentence of less than one year in jail.

Misdemeanors are divided into classes. A Class A misdemeanor results in a sentence between six months and one year. A Class B misdemeanor results in a sentence between six months and 30 days. Finally, a Class C misdemeanor results in a sentence between 30 and 5 days. For these sentences, they are often served in a local county jail vs. a high security prison.

How it differs from a felony

In contrast, a felony is considered the most serious type of crime. In most states, including Florida, a felony typically refers to a crime that carries a sentence for more than one year. These crimes are usually those that are viewed by society to be severe. This often includes murder, rape, kidnapping, arson and burglary.

In some cases, an individual may be charged originally with a felony but is convicted with a misdemeanor. This could be a result of a plea deal or another defense mechanism. As such, anyone facing a criminal allegation should take the time to fully understand their situation, the applicable laws and what defense options they have. This could ultimately help a defendant reduce or dismiss the charges against them.