Misdemeanor vs Felony Explained

Misdemeanor vs Felony Explained.

Criminal charges in Utah are categorized as felonies or misdemeanors. Felony crimes are more serious. They carry longer prison sentences and higher fines. If you have been charged with a crime, regardless of whether it is a felony or a misdemeanor, high-quality legal representation is crucial. Douglas D. Terry & Associates has been defending people accused of crimes for more than 40 years and is the longest-serving criminal defense firm in St. George. If you are facing criminal charges, we can help.

Felony vs. Misdemeanor

Each state legislature decides to classify crimes as felonies or misdemeanors. The punishment for the crime is determined by which classification the crime falls into.

What Is a Misdemeanor Crime?

Misdemeanor crimes are criminal offenses punishable by less than one year in jail. Additional punishments for a misdemeanor crime often include fines, probation, community service, and restitution. When a misdemeanor involves jail time, the sentence is usually served in a local county jail instead of a high-security prison.

What Is a Felony?

Felony crimes are reserved for more serious criminal offenses, such as those that involve death or serious physical harm to the victim, as well as many drug crimes and white-collar criminal offenses.

The primary difference between a felony and a misdemeanor is the severity of the punishment. Felony crimes are punishable by more than one year in prison. The most serious felonies can result in a sentence of life in prison or even the death penalty. The prison sentence for a felony conviction will most likely be served in a state or federal prison.

Someone convicted of a felony risks losing the right to vote, the right to own a firearm, the right to serve on a jury, the right to serve in elected office, and, in some cases, the ability to seek certain professional licenses.

Misdemeanor vs. Felony Examples

Examples of misdemeanor crimes include trespassing, disorderly conduct, simple assault, possession of marijuana, petty theft, DUI, public drunkenness, and shoplifting. Felony crimes are generally the most severe criminal offenses, such as manslaughter or murder, rape, kidnapping, arson, robbery, and burglary.

In certain circumstances, misdemeanor crimes can be elevated to a felony, such as repeat DUI offenses, when a driver causes serious injury or death to another person, or, in cases of assault and battery, when a deadly weapon is used.

Misdemeanor vs. Felony: Punishments

Utah divides crimes by class and sets the punishment based on the classification of the crime.

Felony Punishments

Felony crimes in Utah are divided into four classifications:

  • Capital crimes are punishable by life in prison, life in prison without parole, or death
  • First-degree felonies carry a punishment of five years to life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Second-degree felonies are punishable by one to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Third-degree felonies are punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Misdemeanor Punishments

Misdemeanors in Utah are divided into three categories.

  • A class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.
  • A class B misdemeanor carries a punishment of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
  • Class C misdemeanors are punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $750.

Contact Douglas D. Terry & Associates for Aggressive Felony and Misdemeanor Defense

Douglas D. Terry & Associates has been defending people accused of crimes for more than 40 years. With offices in St. George and Cedar City, we proudly represent people throughout southern Utah. To schedule a consultation, call (435) 628-4411, send an email to email@SouthernUtahDefense.com, or submit our online form to contact our law firm today.

Categories: Criminal Defense