What Are Examples of Felonies and Misdemeanors?
In the United States federal criminal code, crimes are divided into two broad categories: misdemeanors and felonies. The distinction here is one of maximum punishment; misdemeanors are crimes that carry a maximum of one year of jail time and felonies are crimes with punishments in excess of 12 months of incarceration.
So, what are examples of felonies and misdemeanors? Unfortunately, the answer to that is not so cut and dry. 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. Let’s take a closer look.
A good example of multiple levels of severity is the general class of crime called assault. In the case of assault, threatening to cause harm to a person but not carrying through on the threat would be classified as a misdemeanor. This can carry jail time of six months to a year.
Assault that resulted in actual bodily injury, or in which a weapon was used as part of the assault, would be considered a felony. Felony assault comes with anywhere from one year to 25 years in prison.
Disturbing the Peace
Disturbing the peace is another common charge. This charge comes in many forms, including fighting in a public place, bullying others, or mobilizing an unlawful public assembly.
Disturbing the peace, also known as a break of peace, is almost always classified as a misdemeanor. Felony counts are rare, but possible, depending on the state and circumstances surrounding the crime. Given the many variations of this crime, jail time can also vary. The maximum penalty, however, is one year in jail.
Crimes relating to drugs can also be classified as misdemeanors or felonies. Misdemeanors usually pertain to simple drug possession charges. Things advance to felonies when they involve more than simple possession. This can include possession of a large quantity of drugs or an intent to sell.
The quantity required to progress from a misdemeanor to a felony varies from state to state. In California, for example, one can face a year in jail for simple possession, as well as notable fines. If, however, you’re found with a large quantity or deemed to have an intent to sell, one can face multiple years in state or federal prison.
Theft is another great example of a crime that has differing levels of severity. Petty theft is the unlawful taking of property or money from another person without their consent. The distinction between whether theft is a misdemeanor or a felony is dependent on the value of the cash or property stolen.
Many states classify theft of up to $500 as a misdemeanor and theft of larger amounts as a felony. If convicted of a misdemeanor, possible jail time can include one year behind bars. Felony theft is also referred to as larceny.
Grand larceny, or grand theft, may also be on the table if the theft exceeds a value of $1,000 or more. Grand larceny is a felony. You may have heard of “grand theft auto” in reference to stealing a car.
Other crimes are distinguished as being misdemeanors or felonies depending on against whom the crime is committed. Indecent exposure falls into this category. Exposing one’s private parts in public in such a way as to alarm others is considered to be a misdemeanor.
However, if the exposure is before a child, then the crime rises to the level of a felony. Different states set different age limits as to where the line exists between misdemeanor and felony indecent exposure. In California, whether someone’s charged with a misdeameanor or a felony, they will be labeled as a sex offender for the rest of their lives.
In most instances, traffic violations are classified as misdemeanors. Examples of misdemeanor traffic violations include:
- Driving without a license
- Driving without insurance
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
Felony traffic violations include leaving the scene of an accident and vehicular homicide. These violations can come with anywhere from one year to life in prison.
Another potential felony traffic infraction is repeated DUIs. In this case, many states upgrade repeated charges of DUI from misdemeanor to felony status. While the criminal act being committed is the same, multiple violations can result in a felony charge that carries harsher punishments.
Jail Time for Misdemeanors Versus Felonies
The primary difference between misdemeanors and felonies is the amount of jail or prison 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:
- Sale of illegal drugs
- Grand theft
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.
Severity of Punishments
The classification of misdemeanors and felonies is based legally on the severity of punishment; the most severe of punishments are reserved for the most serious offense.
Traffic violations, trespassing, petty theft, and similar offenses are misdemeanors and depending on the state, carry maximum jail times of between 6 months and one year. The attendant fines are also limited to relatively small amounts of money, generally $1,000 to $2,000 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.
what makes something a felony
Hobart (/ˈhoʊbɑːrt/ (listen), Palawa kani: Nipaluna) is the capital and most populous city of the Australian island state of Tasmania. With a population of approximately 240,342 (over 45% of Tasmania’s population), it is the least populated Australian state capital city, and second smallest if territories are taken into account (after Darwin, Northern Territory). The city is located in the state’s south-east on the estuary of the River Derwent, making it the most southern of Australia’s capital cities. Its skyline is dominated by the 1,271-metre (4,170 ft) Mount Wellington, and its harbour forms the second-deepest natural port in the world, with much of the city’s waterfront consisting of reclaimed land. The metropolitan area is often referred to as Greater Hobart, to differentiate it from the City of Hobart, one of the five local government areas that cover the city.
Founded in 1804 as a British penal colony, Hobart is Australia’s second oldest capital city after Sydney, New South Wales. Prior to British settlement, the Hobart area had been occupied for possibly as long as 35,000 years, by the semi-nomadic Mouheneener tribe, a sub-group of the Nuennone, or South-East tribe. The descendants of these Aboriginal Tasmanians often refer to themselves as ‘Palawa’. Since its foundation, the city has expanded from the mouth of Sullivans Cove in a generally north-south direction along both banks of the River Derwent, from 22 km inland from the estuary at Storm Bay to the point where the river reverts to fresh water at Bridgewater. Penal transportation ended in the 1850s, after which the city experienced periods of growth and decline. The early 20th century saw an economic boom on the back of mining, agriculture and other primary industries, and the loss of men who served in the world wars was counteracted by an influx of immigration. Despite the rise in migration from Asia and other non-English speaking regions, Hobart’s population remains predominantly ethnically Anglo-Celtic, and has the highest percentage of Australian-born residents among Australia’s capital cities.
Today, Hobart is the financial and administrative hub of Tasmania, serving as the home port for both Australian and French Antarctic operations and acting as a tourist destination, with over 1.192 million visitors in 2011–12. Well-known drawcards include its convict-era architecture, Salamanca Market and the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), the Southern Hemisphere’s largest private museum.
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