These terms are thrown around all the time and, often interchangeably, but in reality the difference between the two is significant. So what do they mean and what potential consequences may each type of charge bring?
A misdemeanor is a less serious offense for which a person can generally be sentenced to up to a year in jail (as opposed to prison, which is reserved for sentences for over a year’s time). The most common misdemeanor offenses are driving related, such as driving on a suspended license, impaired driving, careless driving, driving without insurance, and the like. (Please see previous blog post on driving with no insurance in Michigan!) Others include simple possession offenses (see previous blog post on marijuana in Michigan!) and first-time domestic violence charges. Misdemeanor offenses are handled exclusively at the district court, or city/local court level and often can be settled with fines and probation, or little jail time.
Felony crimes, on the other hand, are much more egregious. A felony is a charge for which the judge is entitled by law to sentence a convicted offender to more than a year of imprisonment. Felony crimes can range from the seemingly simple, like delivery of narcotics or petty theft, all the way up to capital offenses—which mean the judge may sentence a convicted offender to up to life in prison—like armed robbery and murder. Felony cases begin at the district court level, where the defendant is entitled to what’s called a preliminary exam, and will be bound over to be settled or adjudicated at the circuit court, or county court level if the district court judge finds probable cause for the arrest. However, with little to no prior criminal history, clients facing felony charges at the Law Offices of Joumana Kayrouz have managed to enjoy plea deals that include no jail time, so there is always a reason to have hope with an experienced criminal defense attorney at your side.
If you have been ticketed or charged with any type of crime—felony or misdemeanor—attorneys at the Law Offices of Joumana Kayrouz can help! Call us today with any questions regarding your potential criminal matter or to set up a free consultation. Answers and knowledge are the most powerful tools when your liberty is at stake!