***** FELONY *****

Felony: Felonies are considered the most serious types of crimes, and each state has different punishments for these offenses. A standard definition of a felony is any crime punishable by more than one year in prison or by death for capital offenses like first-degree murder.

Crimes commonly considered to be felonies include, but are not limited to:   aggravated assault and/or battery, arson,  burglary, illegal drug use/sales, grand theft, robbery, murder, rape, and vandalism on federal property. Broadly, felonies can be categorized as either violent or non-violent (property and drug) offenses.

Some offenses, though similar in nature, may be felonies or misdemeanors depending on the circumstances. For example, the illegal manufacture, distribution or possession of controlled substances may be a felony, although possession of small amounts may be only a misdemeanor. Possession of a deadly weapon may be generally legal, but carrying the same weapon into a restricted area such as a school may be viewed as a serious offense, regardless of whether there is intent to use the weapon. Additionally, driving while intoxicated in some states may be a misdemeanor if a first offense, but a felony on subsequent offenses.


***** MISDEMEANOR *****

Misdemeanor: Misdemeanors are more serious than petty offenses, but much less serious than felonies. Misdemeanors typically result in imposition of such punishments as a heavier fine than what someone would pay if they committed a petty offense, or a jail sentence not exceeding a year. If a jail sentence is imposed, it is served at a local, city or county jail rather than a state or federal prison (penitentiary).

In some jurisdictions, those who are convicted of a misdemeanor are known as misdemeanants (as contrasted with those convicted of a felony who are known as felons). Depending on the jurisdiction, examples of misdemeanors may include: petty theft, prostitution, public intoxication, simple assault, disorderly conduct, trespass, vandalism, drug possession, reckless driving, and other similar crimes.


Criminal Reports: Each report disposition should be reviewed carefully as many felony charges are pleaded down to misdemeanors.