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The Difference Between Infractions, Misdemeanors, and Felonies

When it comes to breaking the law, not all crimes are created equal.  If you find yourself being prosecuted with criminal charges, it’s critical to understand what that means and what your rights are.  Some charges may require a simple fine and some legal proceedings.  Others can have lifelong effects.

The three main categories for crimes, in order of severity, are infraction, misdemeanor, and felony.

What are Infractions?

An infraction or minor offense is a petty offence that won’t result in jail time.  Instead, you’ll simply be fined.  The most common infractions tend to be speeding tickets and other traffic violations.  Since there is no possibility of jail time, the accused does not have a right to a jury trial.

If you’re charged with an infraction, you can still hire an attorney to get your charges reduced or dropped, but the government does not have to appoint you with one.  Infractions will not go on your criminal record.

What is a Misdemeanor?

With a misdemeanor, the possibilities of punishment increase significantly.  In Ohio, a misdemeanor can be punishable by up to a year in county jail and a fine of $1000.  Examples of misdemeanors include simple assault, drunk driving (in certain cases), and shoplifting.  Because of the possibility of jail time, you have the right to an attorney and a trial by jury.

Most demeanors don’t end up going to trial.  Instead, they are resolved by plea bargain during a pretrial.

What is a Felony?

The most serious type of criminal charge is a felony.  Felonies can include everything from fraud to acts of violence (or threat of).  A felony is punishable by a minimum of one year in prison and considerable fines and fees.  Jail time could extend to life imprisonment with no chance of parole.  Ultimately, the verdict can vary drastically depending on what the felony charge actually is.

Like misdemeanors, a felony cases can be resolved before going to trial, though it’s more common for them to reach that stage.

If You’re Facing Criminal Charges, You Need a Good Attorney

With the help of an attorney, you can better understand the charges you face, the options available to you, and ultimately, receive a reduced sentencing.  Make sure you’re protected.  If you’re looking for attorneys in Springfield, Ohio, contact the law offices of Michael T Edwards and get the help you need.

41 E. Main St., Enon,
Springfield, OH 45323

937-864-2645