The Differences Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony
Crimes are divided into several categories, which depend upon the severity of the crime. When you are accused of a crime, its category will determine the type of punishment or other consequences you may face if convicted. While infractions are considered minor crimes typically punishable via fines or other minor consequences, misdemeanors and felonies are more serious crimes that may be punishable with time spent in jail, making it essential to understand the charges you are facing.
Misdemeanors are less serious crimes than felonies; these crimes may be met with punishments that include fines, jail time, or a combination of both. In most cases, the punishment associated with misdemeanors is flexible, allowing for the consequences to fit the crime; however, in Arizona, all misdemeanors are punished with a jail sentence of six months or less. Misdemeanors can be associated with fines as low as $500 and as high as $2,500. There are several classes of misdemeanors defined under Arizona law, including prostitution, intentionally exposing others to infectious disease, and using others to obtain alcohol if you are under the age of 21.
Felonies are crimes for which the accused will receive one year or more in a state prison facility. Like misdemeanors, there are several classes of felonies defined under Arizona law, including murder, the production of child pornography, many forms of assault, and the cultivation of drugs such as marijuana. The jail terms served for felonies range from two years to life in prison, and fines associated with felonies can range up to a total of $150,000. Furthermore, felonies are divided into aggravated and mitigated terms; individuals charged with aggravated felonies face more severe consequences.
If you have been charged with a crime in Tucson, Janet Altschuler, Attorney at Law can help. Ms. Altschuler has more than two decades of experience in the field of criminal defense, and can help you understand the consequences you are facing and your legal options to reduce or eliminate them. Please visit us online or call (520) 247-1789 for more information or to schedule a free consultation.