Felony or Misdemeanor: What Is the Difference?

Many people understand the severity of having a felony or misdemeanor conviction on their record, but they don’t necessarily understand the difference between the two. Both felonies and misdemeanors can result in serious legal and professional consequences, but they are not the same. What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor in the state of Maryland?

Misdemeanors vs. Felonies

Misdemeanors are typically heard in District Court and include penalties like fines, jail time, and probation. You can also receive points on your license as a result of a misdemeanor conviction that is driving-related. A felony offense is more serious, and the case will be heard in Circuit Court. You can have a jury trial or bench trial for a felony conviction, and penalties will be much harsher for a conviction. Felony penalties include significant jail time, steep fines, and probation. Additionally, many felonies do not have a statute of limitations for being charged, like murder and manslaughter.

What Are Examples of Misdemeanors?

  • Theft of $1,000 or less
  • Drunk driving, including DWI and DUI convictions
  • Vandalism
  • Traffic offenses, including reckless driving
  • Second-degree assault
  • Failure to appear
  • Minor drug possession without intent to distribute
  • Simple assault

What Are Examples of Felonies?

  • Murder
  • First-degree assault
  • Robbery
  • Sexual assault
  • Property crimes, including burglary, arson, and major theft
  • Fraud
  • Theft over $1,000
  • Drug possession with the intent to distribute

Felonies include incredibly serious crimes, but some of the most common felonies are felony thefts. In the state of Maryland, any theft that is $1,001 or greater is considered a felony charge.

Why Does the Distinction Matter?

Felony convictions carry a heavier weight in a variety of ways. Your conviction may disqualify you from being able to serve on a jury or immigrate to the United States. Additionally, it can prevent you from being hired for a government job. A felony charge can also impact your eligibility for public housing, your ability to work in law enforcement, your ability to become a lawyer, or your ability to vote. Many other jobs also require background checks, and a felony conviction can prevent you from working the job that you’re hoping to start.

You Need Representation for Your Case from The Law Office of Elizabeth Anu Lawrence

If you are worried about the outcome of your DUI or DWI case, choose an experienced firm like the Law Office of Elizabeth Anu Lawrence to give you the help you need.  Please give us a call at 443.352.3201. Skype and telephone consultation are both available to clients.

Contact Us

    Law Office of Elizabeth Anu Lawrence, LLC.
  • Address: 90 Painters Mill Road Suite 201 Owings Mills, Maryland 21117
  • Phone: (443) 352-3201

  • Email: info@elawrencelaw.com

Follow Us