Felony vs. Misdemeanor

Know the Difference

In California, a felony is a serious offense such as an assault & battery with bodily harm, domestic violence, murder, rape, kidnapping, certain sexual offenses, and other violent crimes. Felonies are punishable by a jail term in excess of one year.

A misdemeanor in California, is a less serious crime carrying with it possible jail time of less than one year and/or a fine of up to $1 000 plus penalties and assessments. Although generally considered minor, a California misdemeanor should be taken seriously because, if convicted, it results in your having a criminal record .

A criminal offense can be a violation of local, state or federal law.  The majority of the crimes that occur are violation of the state Penal Code, Vehicle Code or Health and Safety Code.  Violations of the law can be divided into three categories: Infractions, Misdemeanors and Felonies.  Depending on the severity of the circumstances punishment can range from a simple fine to several years of imprisonment.     The burden of proof falls on the prosecution to establish the guilt of a defendant beyond a reasonable doubt.  It is important to talk to an attorney to evaluate the violation to determine if it something that can be handled by the client in pro per or if counsel should be retained.  Each city has the power to pass their own laws for the benefit of the community.  An example of the differences would be some cities permit smoking in public while others do not.