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Felonies vs. misdemeanors

On Behalf of | Feb 29, 2024 | Criminal Defense, DUIs

When most people hear the words “felony” or “misdemeanor,” they probably think of a crime show on TV or a movie about detectives trying to find bad guys and then lawyers going after them in court.

While some of what we see on TV is close to reality, most of it is not. However, there are certain terms that people should know because they are important. Not just for legal professionals or those interested in crime—every citizen is subject to laws.


Misdemeanors are less serious offenses. For example (and this is a very real-life example), authorities will probably charge a person who has a first-time DUI, no criminal history and a pattern of excellent behavior with a misdemeanor.

The punishments for misdemeanors are usually less severe and may involve paying a fine to the court, doing some community service and, sometimes, a short jail sentence.

Some people would not consider going to jail a minor thing, but if the term is short, and it is for a misdemeanor, it is a small price to pay compared to a felony, which we will discuss below.


Felonies are a much bigger deal. We’re talking serious offenses like murder, robbery or selling drugs.

The punishment for these offenses is typically as severe as the crimes are, and the punishments are as harsh as you can imagine. Imagine life in prison or the death penalty.  These crimes are a big deal.

Besides the seriousness of the offenses and the harsher penalties, having a felony on your record can seriously affect your chances of getting an apartment, a house, a loan, employment and many other things that many people take for granted.

Felonies are like a giant mark on someone’s forehead that says they cannot be trusted.

Remember, it is important to stay on the right side of the law. If you slip and commit an offense, there are different offenses, misdemeanors and felonies, and it is critical to understand the difference between the two.

In addition, if you are in a position where you are charged with a crime of any kind, ensure that you contact a qualified attorney to advocate for you and represent you. Everyone has a presumption of innocence and the right to have an attorney.