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What are misdemeanor criminal charges?

Whether you or a loved one is facing a misdemeanor criminal charge or a felony criminal charge, they are all serious criminal charges but you may have some questions related to potential penalties and consequences. Misdemeanor criminal charges are generally considered to be lesser charges than felony criminal charges. In addition, they are punishable by a year or less in jail whereas felony criminal charges are generally punishable by a year or greater in prison.

While misdemeanor charges may be considered less serious than felony charges, they are more serious than infractions. Infractions do not impose jail time, though they may carry fines which both misdemeanor charges and felony charges also carry. Misdemeanors may be divided into classes based on the seriousness of the alleged crime committed.

The treatment of misdemeanors and misdemeanor sentences can vary by state so it is helpful to be familiar with the laws in your state. Misdemeanor criminal charges and any criminal arrest can create a criminal record which can have a significant impact on accused individuals. In addition to the potential penalties and consequences accused individuals face, they may also face personal and professional consequences as well related to employment, education and housing opportunities.

Criminal defense rights apply to all accused individuals and all circumstances involving criminal charges which is why it is essential for accused individuals to be familiar with their criminal defense protections. A strong criminal defense strategy can help accused individuals address the criminal charges they are facing and are essential for accused individuals to assert their criminal defense rights.

Source:, "Misdemeanors," Accessed May 1, 2018

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