Although a felony and a misdemeanor might be interchangeably used in everyday conversations, in a court of law, they mean different things. A felony is considered a more serious crime, often involving an act of violence. Felonies are regarded as high crimes within the US Constitution. A felony is characterized under federal law as an offense punishable by imprisonment or death exceeding one year. It will be categorized by the nature of the crime, including but not limited to treason, murder, rape, manslaughter, or even kidnapping. This allows the court system to determine an appropriate sentence for a felony case.
On the other hand, a misdemeanor is defined as a lesser crime, usually punishable by a fine or serving a jail time. Misdemeanors are tried in police or justice courts. Some common misdemeanors include assault, battery, drunk driving, shoplifting, and causing a public disturbance. Depending on the circumstances, a misdemeanor could result in a state prison sentence. They are still deemed more serious than an infraction despite Federal criminal law classifying them as minor transgressions.
To distinguish between a felony and a misdemeanor, a court of law must divide criminal actions into several categories. Felonies are often punished by jail sentences longer than a year, but misdemeanors are given more flexibility by the prosecutor in deciding which crimes to charge. Courtroom procedures have to be monitored to make sure the defendant’s rights are protected. Therefore, it’s been confirmed that a misdemeanor is less severe than a felony.