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Alabama Attorney Discusses Difference Between Misdemeanor and Felony Charges

Alabama criminal defense attorneyBeing 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.

Misdemeanors usually result in being sentenced to county jail and fines. In Alabama, they are categorized in three classes based on severity:

  • 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.

In Alabama, felonies can result in lengthy prison sentences and hefty fines:

  • 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.

Don’t take chances with your future. Get the professional legal help you need now. Contact Barclay Law, LLC. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can help you get your life back on track. We proudly serve clients throughout the state of Alabama.

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