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Infractions, misdemeanors and felonies: a brief explainer

On Behalf of | Feb 20, 2016 | Criminal Defense

There really are only three types of criminal charges that can be filed against an individual accused of committing an offense. Within these three types of charges there may be subsets and varying characteristics, but the three basic types of crimes still are the focus of the criminal justice system

The first type of crime is an infraction, something with which nearly everyone is familiar. Infractions are very minor “crimes,” such as a parking ticket or a citation for jaywalking. There is almost never jail time involved with infractions, and rarely is court necessary. But, these infractions are still costly in a financial sense.

The other two types of crimes are far more familiar — misdemeanors and felonies. These are the two major categories of crimes, and though they both encompass a majority of crimes, the big distinction between the two is in the severity of certain crimes. The more serious the crime, the more likely it is a felony. Crimes such as arson, rape and homicide are classified as felonies.

Misdemeanors can still be serious crimes, though usually on a lesser scale. For example, drug possession and certain assault cases may not necessarily be classified as felonies (though they certainly could, depending on the case) and instead would be considered misdemeanors.

No matter if your case ends up involving a misdemeanor charge or a felony charge, you will need legal representation to ensure your case is handled properly. Fight for your rights and protect yourself by getting an attorney early in the process.


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