If you have been charged with a crime in California, you may be confused about the wording that was used in your case. Many people do not know what various legal terms mean, and one of the most misunderstood is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor. We at the Law Offices of Matthew C. Bishop can not only represent your rights in a court of law, but can also educate you on the exact charges of which you are being accused.
According to Findlaw, prison terms and fines will be greater for a felony charge than for a misdemeanor. That is because this group of crimes is considered to be the most serious category. Arson, rape, murder, kidnapping and burglary are all considered felonies, but the punishment that is dealt will still be affected by many factors, such as whether a weapon was used and intent can be proven.
Misdemeanors, on the other hand, are comprised of crimes that are not as severe as felonies. They are not viewed as negatively by society and signal that you are not as dangerous as a felon.
The consequences for each crime will be determined by a judge, but the distinction between felony and misdemeanor will affect what range your prison sentence will fall into. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you will serve less than one year behind bars and may be kept in a local jail instead of a maximum-security prison. Felony convictions can include jail time of anywhere from one year to life, or even the death penalty. For more information on this topic, please visit our web page.