What is the Difference between a Felony and a Misdemeanor?

Felony is a serious crime that attracts penalties like fines, jail, and permanent loss of freedoms. A misdemeanor is less severe and often attracts fines, community service, rehabilitation, or jail term. In other words, the main difference between a felony and a misdemeanor is the gravity of crime and punishment.

The jail term for a felony differs from a misdemeanor. For a felony, a judge may pronounce a one-year jail term, a decade, or even a lifetime. For example, a cop charges you for being slightly over the limit and under the influence of drugs. It is a misdemeanor as it is a minor crime.

The difference between misdemeanor and felony is evident when you drive a car with your family, and your blood shows severe alcohol levels. Now it is a case of felony. You are very likely to get stringent punishments for this offense.

What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor rule of trial?


There are some differences between a felony trial and a misdemeanor trial. In case of a misdemeanor trial, you would face the judge, not a jury. In case of a felony, you would undergo a preliminary legal trial before facing a jury trial.

Misdemeanor offenses:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol.
  • Shoplifting.
  • Mistreatment at home.
  • Possession of marijuana is less than 20 grams.

Felony offenses:

  • Murder or culpable homicide.
  • Misappropriation of money.
  • Touching a woman with bad intentions.

There are five classes of a felony:

Offenses attract life imprisonment, or death falls under the class A felony. If a person is awarded a jail sentence for 25 years or more, it falls under a class B felony. Federal law sentencing guidelines classify class C felonies as offenses that attract punishments less than 25 but more than ten years. 

Class D and E felonies attract less than ten but more than five and less than five but more than a year punishments, respectively. Usually, the law prescribes offenses that attract more than a one-year jail term to be served in state or federal prison amount to a felony. The nature and gravity of crime determine the punishment term.

Compared to felonies and misdemeanors, an infraction is a much lesser crime. Usually, the punishment for an infraction is a fine or jail term for less than five days per federal laws. Petty offenses such as trespass and traffic tickets are considered an infraction.

When a cop sees you doing something wrong and hands over a ticket, asking you to pay a fine, it is a refraction. You won’t face a trial or judge. However, infractions can turn into serious offenses when you don’t pay fines.

Texas, California, and Washington have laid down the three strikes law. According to the three-strike law or habitual offender’s law, a person gets life imprisonment if he has served jail terms one or more times for severe offenses. According to the law, habitual offenders should be given grave punishments to reduce the crime rate in those states.

Frequently Asked Questions: 


Can a misdemeanor be increased to a felony? 

Yes. When there is an ongoing trial, and the shreds of evidence prove that you have committed a grievous hurt and not simple hurt, the judge will charge you with a felony.

Difference between a misdemeanor and felony battery?

In the case of misdemeanor battery, the victim may not have received grievous bodily hurt. On the contrary, in the case of felony battery, the victim might have received grievous hurt.

Related Posts:



The difference between felony and misdemeanor lies in the severity of the crime and punishment. When a judge pronounces life imprisonment or the death penalty for a person, it is for severe crimes. They amount to a felony. Instead, when a perpetrator of a crime gets only gets fines, rehabilitation, or community service, it is a misdemeanor. 

Whenever the police charge you with a felony, they approach a criminal defence attorney. Felony charges stay with you forever. It snatches certain rights from you. 

You won’t be able to vote in the election or find a good job or dwelling. In case of a rape charge, your name will appear in the database of sex offenders. Your neighbours will receive a notification regarding this. A criminal defence attorney will plead and try to reduce the sentence or nullify the punishment altogether.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *