What Is the Difference Between a Misdemeanor and Felony Charge?

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Felony and Misdemeanor Charges in Huntsville and North Alabama

Criminal Defense Lawyers in Alabama | Crumbley-Blackwell & Associates, P.C.

In North Alabama, criminal defense cases are typically categorized as either a misdemeanor or felony charge. These classifications refer to the severity of a crime, with a felony being reserved for the more serious offenses. Both misdemeanors and felonies contain sub-categories, further differentiating the severity of charges and penalties. When a person commits a crime, the punishments they may receive are directly linked to the category in which the crime falls.

  • Misdemeanors are broken down into three categories: class A, class B, and class C. Each class of misdemeanor has a maximum sentence for which someone can be punished. For example, a theft crime that is charged as a “Class A” misdemeanor has a maximum sentence of one year in jail and fines of no more than $6,000. Class B misdemeanors, such as animal cruelty, are punishable by 6 months in jail and up to $3,000 in fines. Class C offenses, such as disorderly conduct, can be punished by 3 months in jail and fines of $500. Although each criminal case will possess unique factors, typically crimes which are charged as misdemeanors can include disorderly conduct, cruelty to animals, and trespassing.
  • Felonies are also split into three categories which define the penalties associated with a crime. As felonies are typically more serious, those convicted will be facing at least one year in prison. “Class A” felonies are the most serious of the three categories and are punishable by up to 99 years in prison and $60,000 in fines. Class B felonies are punishable by up to 20 years in prison and $30,000 in fines. The least severe, class C felonies are punishable by up to 10 years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines. Penalties for felonies can also increase based on prior criminal history. Examples of felonies in Alabama include arson, murder, and rape.

In addition to jail time and fines, a felony has far-reaching consequences that have the potential to follow a person for life. For example, those convicted of a theft felony may no longer be able to vote in elections or serve on a jury. Felons are also disqualified from holding certain jobs such as many in the public sector. Depending on the nature of the offense, such as those of a sexual nature, a convict may be barred from additional jobs such as those involving the supervision of children. Multiple felonies, or a combination of felony and misdemeanor charges, can also prevent entry into the military.

Both misdemeanors and felonies are serious charges. If you’ve been accused of a crime – it’s important to seek out the advice of a trusted criminal defense attorney. Our firm has decades of combined experience defending thousands of cases in North Alabama relating to DUI, theft, assault, sex crimes, drug possession, among others. Schedule a free consultation with a defense lawyer from our team today by calling (256) 539-4464 or complete a case evaluation form. During your initial consultation – we will meet with you to answer any questions, discuss the details of your case, and create a strategic plan to defend your charges.

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