October 27, 2021

Misdemeanor vs. Felony: What’s the Difference?

In the United States, criminal offenses are usually classified as either misdemeanors or felonies. Their main difference lies in the gravity of the imposable penalty, and whether a crime is a misdemeanor or a felony depends on factors like the imposable penalty, the place of incarceration, and in some cases, the number of times the offense was committed.

If you or someone you know is currently in a situation involving criminal charges, you might be wondering what the difference is between a misdemeanor or a felony and how a local criminal defense attorney can help.

What Is a Misdemeanor?

A misdemeanor is a type of offense punishable under criminal law. A misdemeanor is typically punishable by less than twelve months in jail, community service, probation, and fines.

In some states, offenses punishable by the same duration of imprisonment are classified as infractions instead of misdemeanors.

Illinois law defines a misdemeanor as one with a determinate sentence of less than one year.

What Is a Felony?

In the United States, a felony is the most serious category of crimes. While different states have different definitions of what constitutes a felony, federal law defines a felony as a crime, with a punishment of more than one year.

In some states, a felony is determined according to the length of the sentence, and in other states, it is determined by the place of incarceration. Other states define a felony by referring to both the length and the place of incarceration.

In Illinois, a felony refers to crimes punishable by no less than a year, up to a maximum of thirty years, depending on the classification of the felony. Illinois law has five classes of felonies in order of length of incarceration: Class 4, Class 3, Class 2, Class 1, and Class X.

The Importance of Having an Attorney

Whether you are facing a misdemeanor or a felony, it’s always important to have an experienced attorney by your side who can build a robust defense against any allegations.

At Chicago Trusted Attorneys™, we understand the gravity of criminal charges, no matter how the law classifies them. Protect your future when you speak with an attorney in your free case review by calling 312-519-3171 or fill out the contact form online.