Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?”
In North Carolina, as in other states, there are two main categories of crimes that include misdemeanors and felonies. Although you might be charged with a misdemeanor, it does not mean you should not take the charges seriously. Even misdemeanor convictions result in severe punishments and could negatively impact your life for many years. If you are charged with a crime, regardless of the classification, it is usually in your best interest to seek guidance from a qualified criminal defense attorney in North Carolina. Your attorney will protect your rights and strongly defend the charges.
Misdemeanors have a variety of classifications. The categories are based on the severity of the crime, in general. Misdemeanor categories include A1, 1, 2, and 3.
Class 1A – Class 1A misdemeanors are the most serious of all misdemeanor categories. Some examples of Class 1A misdemeanors are assault with a deadly weapon, assault on a government employee, and restraining order violations. Penalties include a maximum of up to 150 days in jail and fines at the discretion of the court.
Class 1 – Class 1 misdemeanors include crimes such as possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of stolen property, and communicating threats, to name just a few. Penalties for conviction include up to 120 days in jail and discretionary fines.
Class 2 – Some common Class 2 misdemeanors are simple assault, resisting a police officer, disorderly conduct, and illegally carrying a concealed weapon. You could face up to 60 days in jail and fines up to $1.000 if you are convicted of a Class 2 misdemeanor
Class 3 – This is the lowest classification and least severe of misdemeanor charges. Code violations, simple drug possession, and trespass are just a few of the crimes that are in this category. If you have fewer than four prior misdemeanor convictions, it is unlikely that you will face jail time or probation and will only need to pay a fine if convicted.
What is the Difference Between a Misdemeanor and Felony?
Generally speaking, misdemeanor crimes are less serious than felony crimes. Examples of felony crimes are murder, rape, and other violent crimes. Felonies are typically crimes that include an intent to harm or kill another person, either intentionally or unintentionally. Some crimes are considered “wobblers.” This simply means that the crime may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Whether a crime is charged as a misdemeanor is typically dependent upon the specific details of the crime itself. It is important to note that in many instances, you might be charged with more than one or two crimes at once. In some instances, these charges are serious and might be felonies. An experienced criminal defense attorney will work to get your charges reduced or eliminated. Sometimes, it may be beneficial to accept a plea deal where you plead guilty to a misdemeanor rather than face felony charges, if that is offered to you.
All charges, whether misdemeanor or felony, can be detrimental to you for many years if you are convicted. A criminal conviction will remain on your record so you will want to work hard to defend the charges. Please contact us today to get a phone, video or in-person consultation by calling at (704) 370-2828 to speak with our detail-oriented and well-versed lawyers with offices in Charlotte, Lake Norman, and Monroe, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today or find additional resources here.
The criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC make it their mission to zealously defend their clients on a wide range of criminal matters at both the state and federal levels. These matters may include any charge from traffic offenses; DWI/DUI; drug charges (from simple possession to possession with intent to distribute and trafficking); gun permit denials; weapons offenses; and property crimes (larceny, breaking and entering, robbery, fraud, embezzlement, white collar offenses); to sexually related offenses (indecent exposure; sexual assault, crimes against nature, removal from sex offender registry); and violent crimes (domestic violence; assault; manslaughter; homicide, murder). Other legal issues that Arnold & Smith, PLLC criminal clients may be facing include restraining orders, restraining order and probation violations, expungements; appeals; and immigration issues related to criminal charges. Our criminal defense attorneys are passionate about ensuring that individuals empower themselves by being informed about their constitutional rights, and stand at the ready to fight in the defense of those facing criminal charges.
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