What is the difference between a misdemeanor and felony charge?

The Texas criminal system splits crimes into different categories. In the US, misdemeanors and felonies describe two different criminal categories. This is the same for the state of Texas. The state defines misdemeanors and felonies by the seriousness of the charge. The two categories have different punishments.

 You can determine a felony vs a misdemeanor by the amount of possible jail time. Under thefederal sentencing guidelines, misdemeanors are crimes with a potential jail term that is less than one year. The classifications for misdemeanors are as follows:

·        Class A

·        Class B

·        Class C

Class A is the most serious with a maximum jail time of one year and a fine of up to $4,000. A Class B carries a maximum sentence of 180 days and a fine up to $2,000. The Class C misdemeanor has no maximum jail sentence and carries a fine up to $500.

 Felonies are crimes that are far more serious. Given the seriousness of the crimes, they also have punishments that are more serious. Texas classifies felonies by capital felonies, first degree, second degree, third degree and state jail felony. Here are the maximum punishments for each:

·        Punishments for capital felonies are life without parole or death

·        Punishments for first degree felonies are five to 99 years of imprisonment

·        Punishments for second degree felonies are two to 20 years imprisonment

·        Punishments for third degree felonies are two to ten years imprisonment

 Federal law also breaks down felonies into similar classes. The classes range from A felonies to E felonies.

 The information above is not legal advice. It is for educational purposes only.