Difference Between Misdemeanor and Felony
Learn more about the two classifications of crimes in Michigan
Criminal charges generally fall into different categories, depending on how serious they are. In Michigan and most states, charges are classified either as misdemeanors or felonies. There's a big difference if you're convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony. But what exactly is the difference between them?
The most significant difference has to do with the length of incarceration. Misdemeanor convictions have a maximum jail sentence of one year. Felony convictions expose defendants to prison sentences (sentences exceeding one year cannot be served in a county jail). Felony convictions carry a minimum prison sentence of one year and some types of convictions can result in a life in prison sentence.
|Jurisdiction||District Court||Circuit Court|
|Jury size||6 Jurors||12 Jurors|
|Right to Vote||No restrictions||Prohibited while in jail|
|Jury Duty||No restrictions||Prohibited from serving|
|Right to Own Firearms||No restrictions||Right restored 3-5 years after prison sentence. Must be approved by licensing board in certain cases|
What are common misdemeanor charges in Michigan?
Some of the most common misdemeanor charges we handle include:
- First DUI offense
- Second DUI offense
- Drug possession
What should I do if I've been charged with a misdemeanor in Michigan?
Misdemeanor charges might seem minor at first. While misdemeanors are much less serious than felonies, a non-citizen convicted of a misdemeanor could be deported or denied citizenship or naturalization. With so much at stake, it's important to take your charges seriously right from the start. That's why it's critical you contact us. We can explain all your legal options.
In many cases, we might be able to get your misdemeanor charges dismissed or have your punishment reduced to probation. We don't offer any guarantees or make promises we cannot keep. But in our experience, the outcome of many cases is often much better when people charged with misdemeanor hire a lawyer to represent them in court.
What are common felony charges in Michigan?
Felony charges carry tougher penalties than misdemeanor charges. The guidelines for felony charges are also more complex. Felonies are divided into eight categories, from Felony A to Felony H. Prison terms vary for each felony class. They include:
- Class A Felony - Up to life in prison. Charges include:
- First-degree murder
- Criminal sexual conduct, first degree
- Armed robbery
- Class B Felony - Up to 20 years in prison. Charges include:
- Second degree child abuse
- Production of child pornography
- Class C Felony - Up to 15 years in prison. Charges include:
- Class D Felony - Up to 10 years in prison. Charges include:
- Larceny over $20,000
- Class E Felony - Up to 5 years in prison. Charges include:
- Carrying a concealed weapon (CCW)
- Class F Felony - Up to 4 years in prison. Charges include:
- Possession of less than 5 kilograms of marijuana
- Class G Felony - Up to 2 years in prison. Charges include:
- Resisting and obstructing a police officer
- Class H Felony - Jail time or probation. Charges include:
- Stolen state identification to commit a felony
- False representation to obtain personal information
What should I do if I've been charged with a felony in Michigan?
The consequences of a felony conviction are dire. You could spend many years or the rest of your life in jail if you're convicted of a felony. Michigan criminal defense lawyer Michael P. Manley has handled many felony cases. That's how this Board Certified Criminal Defense Trial Specialist built his reputation. He's the criminal defense attorney people turn to when they have a big case and so much is at stake.
Felony trials can sometimes last several days or weeks depending on the severity and complexity of your case. Attorney Manley knows how to successfully navigate the legal system in Michigan. He also understands the difference between state and federal charges.
You can appeal your case if you're found guilty of a felony. But it's always better to get the outcome you want the first time around. Call (810) 238-0500. Free case evaluation available.