The criminal justice system of the United States breaks all criminal acts
down into two main categories: misdemeanors and felonies. Other than that
basic knowledge, not many people actually know the differences between
the two, or that a third type exists as well.
Misdemeanors Vs. Felonies Vs. Infractions
A misdemeanor is generally considered a crime that causes harm, financial
damage, or considerable inconvenience to a moderate degree, or to only
one or two people. Most criminal acts on the books are misdemeanors because
of this broad definition. The penalties associated with misdemeanor convictions
are generally capped at a few thousand dollars in fines – most cap
at $1,000 – and less than a year in jail; additional forms of penalty
may be used, such as mandatory counseling or community service.
A felony is any crime that is inarguably serious by nature, causes widespread
or severe harm, or violates
federal law. Due to the fact that most people do not actually want to cause serious
harm or a major inconvenience to another person, felony charges are infrequent,
but they must be taken seriously whenever they arise. Penalties upon a
felony conviction, by definition, must include at least one year in prison;
sentences can be extended all the way to life without parole for violent
felonies or those that disenfranchised many. Fines related to felony convictions
may also be steep, often ranging over $5,000 but capable of going into the
Lastly, an infraction is an action that constitutes the very minimal form
of a crime. Punishments for infractions cannot carry jail time and rarely
put a mark on a person’s criminal record. At most, a person can
expect to pay a few hundred dollars in fines. Infractions do not usually
go through the criminal court system, so a person ticketed for one is
expected to pay the fine without having a chance to defend themselves.
Minor traffic violations, such as failing to stop at a stop sign, are
common examples of infractions.
If you have been arrested in Las Vegas for a misdemeanor or felony, let
the Law Office of David R. Fischer know. Our highly-experienced Las Vegas
criminal defense attorney may be able to fight on your behalf and have
your charges reduced or dismissed. Call
702.866.9864 and ask about our
free case evaluations.