Do You Know the Difference Between Felonies and Misdemeanors?
The average person confuses felonies and misdemeanors. To most people outside of this profession, the law contains confusing legal jargon. Under Pennsylvania law 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 106, courts classify crimes and felonies and misdemeanors. You must understand the difference if you are about to head to a court appearance. The attorneys at Marc T. Valentine & Associates PC in Somerset, PA, can help.
Our lawyers will explain the definition of each charge, along with examples of felonies and misdemeanors. In addition, our attorneys will explain why knowing the difference matters. Marc T. Valentine & Associates PC prides itself on educating our Somerset, PA, clients on handling felonies and misdemeanors.
Learn the Definition of a Felony Charge and Potential Punishments
Courts consider felonies to be the most serious of crimes. These charges often involve the risk of severe physical harm such as rape, burglary, kidnapping, arson, and theft. In Pennsylvania, possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver is also considered a felony. Potential punishments can range from one year in prison to life without the possibility of parole. Sometimes, even the death penalty can result from a felony charge. Pennsylvania law classifies felony charges in three separate classes:
This classification carries up to 20 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.
This degree carries up to 10 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.
This scenario carries up to seven years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.
Certain felonies in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania carry a minimum sentence. The court must impose the minimum sentence regardless of other mitigating factors.
Misdemeanors Carry Less Severe Consequences Than Felonies
Relatively speaking, misdemeanors are less severe crimes, and carry less severe consequences. Misdemeanor crimes are more stringent than summary offenses. Examples of these crimes include DUI, stalking, shoplifting, loitering, possession of drugs, disorderly conduct, and trespassing. Pennsylvania law classifies misdemeanors in three levels:
This situation carries up to five years of incarceration and no more than $10,000 in fines.
This scenario carries up to two years of incarceration and no more than $5,000 in fines.
This degree carries up to one year of incarceration and no more than $2,500 in fines.
Like felonies, certain misdemeanors carry mandatory minimums. The level increases if the violation is a second or third offense of the exact nature.
Our Attorneys Know the Difference Between Felonies and Misdemeanors
After explaining each of the charges, what is the difference between felonies and misdemeanors? Ultimately the difference comes down to the scale of the crimes. Courts classify less serious crimes where fewer people suffered harm as misdemeanors. Felonies are usually more serious with more damage. The classification of each charge depends on the following factors:
- Criminal History
- The Seriousness of the Crime
It’s Vital to Know the Difference Because of the Consequences
Individuals must know the difference between felonies and misdemeanors because the consequences for one are more severe than the other. Consequences for felony convictions include limited voting rights, loss of firearm ownership, limited employment options, higher insurance rates, and more. Felony convictions not only carry harsh consequences, but many employers will also not hire you for a job.
The prison sentences for misdemeanors, along with the consequences, are less severe. Misdemeanor convictions show up on criminal background checks, and could lead to harsher future punishments. Knowing the difference between the two charges can help you prepare for the punishment you will receive.
Talk With a Criminal Defense Attorney About Your Case Today
If you are awaiting a court date for a felony or misdemeanor charge, consult the help of an experienced lawyer. A criminal defense attorney can possibly reduce your felony charge down to a misdemeanor. With a lawyer by your side, you can also present a solid defense to the judge in order to receive a preferable sentence. You need to speak to a lawyer who has the skills and experience to deliver a solid defense. Having an attorney present can also help you navigate the process of preparing for court and accepting the charges. If you need help dealing with felonies and misdemeanors in Somerset, PA, give our law firm a call.
Marc T. Valentine & Associates PC Handles Felonies and Misdemeanors
Residents in and around Somerset, PA, trust Marc T. Valentine & Associates PC for help with felonies and misdemeanors. Since our inception, we have developed a strong reputation as Somerset, PA’s, trusted law firm for criminal cases. Our attorneys use their skills and experience to fight for your rights. We take great pride in helping you get what you deserve.
Our timeliness and professionalism continue to bring clients back and get our name out to others in Somerset, PA. The attorneys at Marc T. Valentine & Associates PC believe that each case has its own unique characteristics. We take that into account as we prepare for each court case. Call the attorneys at Marc T. Valentine & Associates in Somerset, PA, for more about our criminal law services.
For more information about felonies and misdemeanors, call Marc T. Valentine & Associates PC at (814) 701-2835 or email us. Our attorneys pride themselves on providing prompt and professional service to clients in Somerset, PA, and beyond. We strive to serve our clients well with every job. Call our Somerset, PA, office today to speak to experienced attorneys about felonies and misdemeanors.