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Are Misdemeanors and Felonies the Same Thing?

Typically, crimes are classified as either misdemeanors or felonies. These crimes are not the same thing, so if you have been arrested and charged with a crime, you will want to understand the differences and how they will affect you and your future.

Misdemeanors are less serious crimes. They may include shoplifting, vandalism, disorderly conduct, trespassing, reckless driving, and driving under the influence. 

Felonies, on the other hand, are more severe. They can result in lengthy prison sentences as well as thousands of dollars in fines. They include murder, arson, rape, grand theft, drug trafficking, fraud, embezzlement, kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon, and terrorism.

However, those charged with a misdemeanor can still go to jail. The sentence is typically shorter (under a year), and the crime is likely to result in fines, community service, and/or probation.

Both misdemeanor and felonies can have effects on a person. There are legal consequences to consider, such as a criminal record. Misdemeanors still appear on a criminal record, although they are not considered as severe as felonies. They can take a lot of time to deal with in terms of contacting lawyers, going to court, performing community service, and serving jail time.

Felonies are the same way, except the penalties are more severe. A person will likely have to spend many years in prison. Plus, a felony conviction can have widespread effects on a person. Their housing and employment opportunities may be affected. They may lose their right to vote and purchase firearms. Those convicted of felonies also lose out on civil liberties such as serving on a jury or holding public office.

Felonies may also come with financial consequences: Felony convictions can result in fines, court costs, and restitution payments to victims. There is also a social stigma. They may face discrimination from their communities, friends, and even family members.

Expungement is often available for misdemeanor and felony crimes. Expungement is the process by which a criminal is destroyed or sealed from state or federal records. An expungement order directs the court to treat the criminal conviction as if it had never occurred. Each state has its own laws about which offenses may be expunged. In Georgia, a person with no charges pending and has not been convicted of any crime in the United States in the last five years is eligible for expungement.

The distinction between misdemeanors and felonies is important because it affects the legal process, the severity of punishments, and the long-term consequences for individuals convicted of these crimes.

Contact Our Atlanta Criminal Defense Attorneys Today

Whether you are facing misdemeanor or felony charges in Atlanta, you need the best legal help possible. You could face harsh penalties and lengthy prison sentences.

Protect yourself and your legal rights with help from the Georgia criminal defense lawyers at Ghanayem & Rayasam. We can provide you with the trusted legal guidance and professional representation you need. Schedule a consultation today by filling out the online form or calling (404) 561-0202.