Misdemeanors vs. Felonies
A crime can have the same general classification but be broken down into several levels of severity, some of which may raise the seriousness from a misdemeanor to a felony.
Severity of Punishments
The classification of misdemeanors and felonies are legally based on the severity of punishments and the most severe of punishments are reserved for the most serious offense. Traffic violations, trespass, petty theft and similar offenses are misdemeanors and depending on the state, carry maximum jail times of between 6 months and 1 year. The attendant fines are also limited too relatively small amounts of money, generally $1000 to $2000 maximum.
Felonies such as murder, rape, arson and kidnapping are substantially more serious and all carry jail times of at least one year and in most cases, substantially greater terms of incarceration. At the most severe level of felony classification, Class A, the maximum penalty can be life in prison without parole or the death penalty.
Jail Time for Misdemeanors Versus Felonies
The primary difference between misdemeanors and felonies are the amount of jail time that a convicted offender can be sentenced to serve. Many felonies are also broken down into classifications, or levels of seriousness, according to what punishments may be imposed.Felonies that are broken down into these differing classifications include: Murder, Rape, Arson,Sale of illegal drugs,Grand theft ,Kidnapping. These felonies can be classified from Class E or F felonies such as the lowest levels of theft up to Class A felonies which carry a life?s sentence in prison or the death penalty. Class A felonies are generally murder or first degree intentional homicide.