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What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?

On Behalf of | Mar 19, 2019 | Criminal Defense

These days many people may think that they have a firm grasp on what occurs during the criminal justice process based on what they have seen in movies or on television. However, reality can be quite a bit different, which why it is so important for a criminal suspect in Florida to understand some of the basics of the criminal justice process. For example – what is the difference between a felony charge and a misdemeanor charge?

Well, for starters, a misdemeanor charge is typically referred to a less severe category of charge. But that is just based on the severity of the potential punishment that can be doled out be a judge, not on the effect such a charge can have on a person’s life. Yes, the potential sentence upon conviction for a misdemeanor – such as drunk driving, for example – may be limited, but any type of arrest and conviction can have a tremendous impact on a person’s employment or family life.

A felony, on the other hand, is a much more serious charge. While the sentence for a misdemeanor charge may be limited to one year or so, felony convictions can lead to sentences of years in prison, if not life in prison. A felony could be based on assault and battery, white collar crimes or even multiple drunk driving arrests, for example. A prison sentence can obviously change the trajectory of a person’s life permanently.

Florida residents who have been arrested for any type of criminal charge should remember that they have options. They have the right to present a defense, if that is the right move in their case.