What is the Difference Between a Felony and a Misdemeanor?

If you are charged with a crime, you should know that the potentially penalty will differ based on whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. In fact, you might even be hit with an infraction as opposed to a felony or misdemeanor charge. Infractions are comparably minor offenses, typically resulting in a fine. There is no need to appear in court when charged with an infraction. Furthermore, such a violation will not appear on a criminal record. However, felonies and misdemeanors will show up on your criminal record, spurring quite the serious punishments. This is precisely why it is in your interest to have a talented and hardworking Arizona criminal defense attorney on your side.

Arizona Felonies and Misdemeanors in Terms of Fines

If you face a felony charge, you will be slapped with more fines than if the crime were charged as a misdemeanor. However, there will be a fine applicable to both types of crimes. The higher the severity of the charge, the higher the felony or misdemeanor class’s fine. If you can avoid jail after being convicted, you still won’t be able to bypass the fine. Furthermore, you will have to pay court costs as well.

Time in Jail

A felony or misdemeanor conviction in Arizona is likely to result in jail time. However, if the charge is a minor misdemeanor, the jail time might be waived altogether. The length of time you spend in jail hinges on the felony or misdemeanor class and the crime’s circumstances. Class C misdemeanors are minor, carrying a 30 day jail stay or even less. If the charge is a misdemeanor Class B, it will carry a jail time of 30 days to 60 days. Class A misdemeanors result in jail time between six months and a year.

A total of five felony classes exist. The most minor of these is the Class E felony, carrying between a year and half a decade in jail. Class D felonies carry between half a decade and a full decade in jail time penalties. Class C felonies result in a decade or even all the way up to 25 years of jail time. If you are hit with a class B felony and found guilty, you will face 25 years or even more in jail time. The most serious of the felony classes is the Class A felony that carries a penalty of life in prison or even the death penalty.

Additional Penalty Differences Between Felony and Misdemeanor Charges

There might be other penalties, depending on the type of crime in question. In general, the additional penalties for misdemeanor crimes is less than that for felony crimes. Sadly, a misdemeanor or felony conviction in the state of Arizona can make it difficult to land a job, work as a volunteer or even be approved for an apartment lease. Additional penalties for a guilty verdict in an Arizona criminal case include scholarship denials, the denial of accolades and even the denial of a professional license necessary to earn a living in one’s field of employment. Furthermore, those found guilty of a felony lose their right to own a gun and vote.

It is clear the stakes are elevated in criminal defense cases in Arizona. If you are charged with a crime in the state of Arizona, contact an experienced Arizona criminal defense attorney right away. Your attorney will evaluate the nuanced facts of your specific case, craft a legal strategy to prove your innocence, and ultimately help minimize your penalty after this unfortunate event.