Being charged with any crime can be a frightening and confusing ordeal. However, the type of charge depends on the severity of the alleged crime.
If you have been charged with a crime, it’s important to understand the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony. If you have any questions regarding your charges, an experienced Alabama criminal defense attorney can help you.
What is a misdemeanor?
Misdemeanor charges generally apply to smaller, nonviolent crimes. Some common misdemeanors include:
- Shoplifting – When a person who appears to be a customer steals from a store. This type of crime can also be charged as a felony, depending on the value of stolen goods.
- Public intoxication – When a person is visibly and explicitly under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol in public.
- Assault in the third degree – When a person commits simple assault with the intention of causing harm to the victim.
- Trespassing – Knowingly entering another private property without permission.
- Disorderly conduct – This often includes noise disturbances, public intoxication, fighting, and rioting.
- Vandalism – When a person knowingly defaces or destroys public or private property without permission.
- Reckless driving – Dangerous driving is common and often results in traffic citations. However, it becomes a misdemeanor when a driver’s actions put others’ lives at risk.
- Class A: Up to one year in county jail, fine of up to $6,000
- Class B: Up to six months in county jail, fine of up to $3,000
- Class C: Up to three months in county jail, fine of up to $500
What is a felony?
Felonies represent violent or serious crimes and can result in harsher penalties. They include, but are not limited to:
- Assault in the first or second degree – Serious assault on a police officer or healthcare worker, or inflicting severe or life-threatening injuries on someone.
- Theft of property – If stolen goods have a value over $500, theft can be charged as either a class B or class C felony.
- Drug charges – In Alabama, most cases of drug possession, distribution, and trafficking are charged as felonies. However, possession of marijuana under 2.2 lbs. can be charged as a misdemeanor.
Other crimes that are charged as felonies include murder, manslaughter, sex crimes, subsequent DUIs, and arson.
- Class A felony: Punishable for 10 to 99 years in prison and a fine up to $60,000
- Class B felony: Punishable for two to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $30,000
- Class C felony: Punishable for one to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $15,000
- Class D felony: Punishable for up to five years in prison and a fine up to $7,500
Charged with a crime? Now what?
Whether it’s a misdemeanor or felony, a criminal charge can seriously impact your life, your future and your ability to find and keep employment. In addition, a single charge can stay on your record permanently.
Fighting these charges takes the skill and legal knowledge of a criminal defense attorney at Barclay Law LLC. Don’t take a chance with your freedom and future. Contact us today to discuss your legal options.