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Felony or Misdemeanor? What's the Difference?

There are two main categories for criminal acts in the United States. These two categories are felonies and misdemeanors. Many people do not know the differences between the two or that a third category exists altogether. 

Misdemeanors, Felonies & Infractions:

  1. Misdemeanor - a crime that causes financial damage, harm or considerable inconvenience to a moderate degree. Most of the written law categorizes a majority of criminal acts on the books as misdemeanor because this is a broad definition. The penalties cap at a few thousand dollars, most at $1,000, and less than a year in jail. These include other forms of penalties like mandatory counseling or community service.

  2. Felony - a felony is serious by nature, causes widespread or severe harm and also violates federal law. Most people do not want to cause harm or inconvenience to another person; felony charges are less frequent than misdemeanors, but are serious when they arise. Penalties, by definition, include at least one year in prison. Sentences can be extended up to life without parole. Fines range over $5,000 and can range into millions of dollars. 

  3. Infractions - This is an action that is a very minimal form of crime. Punishments do not usually carry and constitute jail time nor do they appear on a person’s criminal record. Usually, the most that could happen involves a few hundred dollars in fine. Infractions do not go through the criminal court system. Issues like traffic violations, failing to stop at a stop sign, and other traffic offenses are commonly referred to as infractions. 

If you have been arrested or are expecting criminal charges, contact the law offices of Sgro & Roger. We have been working with the Nevada community for over 25 years and have the legal expertise to give your case the meticulous attention it deserves.