Difference Between Felony And Crime

Difference Between Felony And Crime

The subject of crime and felony is one that every citizen ought to have a fair idea about. The reason for this is the fact that they can sometimes be interchangeable and as such can be confusing. Felonies are the most serious category of crime that a person can commit and often involve sterner punishments by law. Crime in the sense of a misdemeanor can be one that involves fewer stern punishments such as small fines and smaller jail time. This article looks at the differences that exist among the different crime classifications.

Difference between felony and crime

The major difference between a crime and a felony is that a felony is specific while a crime is usually generic. A felony is a crime that is so serious that it can get a person to serve between years of imprisonment to a death sentence. But, whatever makes a person spend less than a year in Jail can is an infraction or a misdemeanor? The definition of a crime is any type of illegal activity that a person may commit. It is an offense prohibited by law. In a situation where a person commits a crime, such a person is a criminal and is liable to get punished. Crime is a less serious act which may be senseless, serious and irresponsible but may not be against the law.

A Felony refers to a very serious crime like arson, rape, murder or kidnapping.

What Are The Categories And Types Of Crimes?

The criminal system is such that it varies from one place in America to another. Different states classify their crimes depending on how serious the crime may be. Some of the major categories include misdemeanors, infractions, and felonies. There are some other classes or levels within.

The main categories are the ones determined by the jail time allotted to such a crime. It is important to know the way the court system handles a certain case to know the variations. For you to know the difference between a crime and a felony, you must have an idea of the jail time for the crime in question.

What Is An Infraction?

Infractions are generally the lowest type of crimes. An infraction is a case of breaking a rule, law or ordinance. In most cases, there is usually no associated jail term with such infractions and they usually do not appear on any criminal record. More often than not, a fine is usually the major punishment. But the federal law considers an infraction to be a crime and as such, a jail term is usually attached to it. Usually, such a jail term does not exceed more than five days. Many infractions incur tickets.

Usually, a police officer may issue a ticket to someone who has done something wrong. Such an individual will need to pay a fine. Also, infractions do not need much time in court. The only time an infraction may escalate into a jail term is if left unattended to. Infractions are also categorized into several classes such as non-moving and moving violations. The law makes provisions for penalties and fines for different levels of infractions depending on the category.

What Is A Misdemeanor?

Misdemeanors are more serious offenses than infractions. Under the law, a misdemeanor is a criminal offense punishable by a jail term that is not more than a year. Some states define misdemeanors as offenses that are not an infraction or a felony. The same way infractions get grouped into classes is the same way misdemeanors get grouped. Under federal law, misdemeanors are different categories depending on the punishment they carry.

There are different classes include Class A which is more than six months but less than a year. There is also class B which is not less than thirty days but less than six months. Also, we have class C which has a jail term of fewer than thirty days but more than five days. Usually, the jail term gets served in county jail as against a high-security facility. In this case, prosecutors are often quite flexible in the approach they use in handling such issues. They are also not rigid in the type of plea bargain they enter.

What Is A Felony?

A Felony is one of the most serious crimes out there. Felony is a relative term in America. For instance, while the federal government views felony as a crime with a sentence of at least one year, certain states are less stern about it. Several states use the term felony but do not have a clear definition of it.

But, there are about 43 states which define felony using the place of incarceration, length of sentence, and even both sometimes. Like misdemeanors, felonies get grouped based on the punishment attached to them. The first one is the Class A felony which comes with a death penalty and a life sentence. There is also the class B felony which has a sentence of at least twenty-five years in jail for it. The Class C felony is such that it is less than twenty-five years but it is more than ten years. The Class D felony is one that is less than ten years but greater than five years. Finally, there is the Class E felony which is less than five years but greater than a year.

What Is A Felony Arrest?

This occurs when the police arrest a person and take them into custody. This is usually on the suspicion that such a person has committed a crime. Usually, a felony arrest may take place either before or after a charge gets issued. A felony charge is usually the start of a formal legal proceeding against anybody that may get accused of committing a felony. It is usually when an attorney comes up with a formal accusation against the defendant when he stands before the judge.

What Are The Procedural Differences?

There are two different procedures when it comes to the issue of a felony.

The first one is the prosecutor’s complaint and this takes place in a state that does not use a grand jury system. In this scenario, the prosecutor often writes a document that indicts the defendant of a crime and makes it available to a judge. The court in this scenario often holds an initial hearing so as gather enough evidence for the case. During this hearing, they hear the available evidence and find out if the case is worthy of a trial or not.

The next one is a grand jury, with several federal and state government uses a grand jury. These are a group of ordinary citizens who hear the case and give their opinion. The grand jury usually determines if the case is worthy of entering into a trial. A grand jury is usually not a platform where a personal judgment gets passed. It only helps to determine if there is enough evidence for the defendant to appear for trial.

What Are The Effects Of Felony And Crime Convictions?

A person convicted of a crime who is above the age of eighteen will have a permanent dent on his record. This can go on to affect his right to own a gun and even possible future employment depending on the type of crime committed. A misdemeanor usually incurs less effect on the person’s prospects when compared to a felony. In a case where the misdemeanor gets linked to the committed offense, it may make gainful employment quite difficult. Such offenses may see their professional licenses revoked per time.

What Is The Secret To Expunge A Crime From Your Record?

There is a provision for documents containing past criminal records to get sealed. This means that the information will not be available to the public which makes former felons not to get compelled to disclose their records. This process is expungement. The way this works may be different as you go from one point to the other in different states.

Expungement is more likely in cases where the conviction is non-violent especially if the person is a first time offender. Certain states need up to fifteen years for one to be eligible to activate it.


No crime is ideal at all. But knowing the category of crime one is dealing with should be able to give one a better grasp of things. a felony or any other category of crime comes with its unique features depending on the degree of punishment allotted to it. This is different as you go from one place to the other.

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