Differences Between Felonies and Misdemeanors in TN
25 January 2023IN: Criminal Law
The criminal justice system can be very complex. There are various types of crimes with different penalties. There are two main types of crimes that you have probably heard of — misdemeanors and felonies.
A misdemeanor is a lesser crime, typically punishable by less than 12 months in jail — if there is any jail time at all. More likely than that, a person convicted of a misdemeanor will pay fines and perform community service, among other penalties, and is unlikely to face jail time for a first offense unless the charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence. Common misdemeanors include driving under the influence (DUI), shoplifting, disorderly conduct, certain drug possession charges, and simple assault.
Felonies, on the other hand, are more serious. Felonies tend to be more violent or egregious in nature, such as murder, manslaughter, rape, child molestation, robbery, and grand theft. White-collar crimes, such as bank fraud, identity theft, and embezzlement, are not necessarily violent, but because they cause significant monetary losses, they are charged as felonies.
From a legal standpoint, misdemeanors and felonies are different. Misdemeanors are minor crimes, so the punishment is not as serious. At the most, a person convicted of a misdemeanor may face up to eleven months and twenty-nine days in jail and pay fines of up to $2,500. They may also have to perform community service or take classes (if substance abuse is an issue). Also, some misdemeanors can be expunged, or removed, from your criminal record in certain circumstances.
This is not the case for felonies. Felonies come with much harsher penalties. A felony charge may come with significant prison time (at least one year). Many people charged with felonies spend many years, decades or even the rest of their lives in prison. On top of that, they often pay hefty fines — tens of thousands of dollars — as well as restitution to the victims.
Felonies come with other consequences. They can make it harder to get a job, as many employers avoid hiring felons. If your crime was a sex offense, you will not be able to work with children. You also lose constitutional rights, such as your right to vote and bear arms. A misdemeanor, in comparison, has a lesser effect on your civil liberties.
A convicted felon may also lose out on a college education, or at least in terms of loans, grants, and other funding. Plus, you may lose out on travel opportunities. In some cases, you may not be able to leave your country or even your state while on probation or parole.
As you can see, there is a lot at stake. That is why you need to contact a lawyer as soon as you are arrested to avoid felony charges.
Contact Our Murfreesboro Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
A misdemeanor is not as serious as a felony, so there are differences when it comes to charges and penalties.
The difference between a misdemeanor and a felony is significant. A Murfreesboro criminal defense lawyer from The Law Office of David L. Scott can protect your future and freedom. Schedule a consultation with our office by filling out the online form or calling (615) 896-7656.