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What's the difference between a Felony and a Misdemeanor?

Knowing what crime you or a loved one have been charged with is important but can be difficult to understand.  Navigating your way through understanding the difference between a misdemeanor, felony, and the different classes of each can be overwhelming.  Sure, we all know felonies are worse than misdemeanors, but what exactly is the difference?

Misdemeanor

A misdemeanor is a criminal charge, but is of a less serous nature than a felony.  Depending on the type of offense, your previous record of attendance in court, and the facts and circumstances behind your arrest, a ticket may be issued in lieu of a bond.  The range of punishment for a misdemeanor in Missouri varies from a fine to one (1) year in jail depending on the charge.  For more information about the range of punishment for misdemeanors, check out our guide to the range of punishment under Missouri's criminal code.

Felony

Felonies are much more serious than misdemeanors and carry a significant increase in penalties.  A conviction of a felony will cause the loss of certain rights which may be important to you.  Those rights include the right to vote, hunt, and possess firearms.  Additionally, you can have significant problems with future employment.  If you either work or are planning to start a career in a professional service industry which requires licensure (i.e. lawyer, doctor, insurance, etc.), a felony conviction can severely impact your ability to get or maintain a license.  The range of punishment can vary from fines of up to $10,000 to thirty (30) years or life imprisonment.  For more information about the range of punishment for felonies, check out our guide to the range of punishment under Missouri's criminal code.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime, contact Chris today for a free consultation to see how he can help.