There are two kinds of criminal convictions: misdemeanors and felonies. There are other important differences you should be aware of between the two. Whether you face misdemeanor or felony charges, a conviction could result in jail time, so it’s wise to understand what’s at stake.

Seriousness of the Crime

Misdemeanor charges are for lesser crimes while felonies refer to more serious crimes. Misdemeanors can include:

  • traffic violations
  • petty theft

Felony charges encompass more serious crimes such as:

  • murder
  • rape
  • arson
  • kidnapping

Severity of the Penalty for the Crimes

Because felonies are considered as more serious crimes, they carry much harsher and more severe fees and penalties. Though both crimes can potentially result in

  • jail time
  • fines
  • community service
  • license suspensions
  • probation

The amounts and extents of each of those results are typically lower and less severe for misdemeanors.

Misdemeanor and Felony Convictions Can Hurt

Any type of criminal conviction can affect the various aspects of your life. This can include your career prospects, the ability to receive student loans and government benefits, and even the ability to leave the country. Even though felonies tend to have a greater impact on your quality of life than misdemeanors, if you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you can potentially experience more serious charges and penalties in the future. This is why it is always worth hiring an expert criminal attorney to fight your case, even if you think the offense is not that serious.