Differences Between Types of Charges
As various types of crimes are committed, they result in various types of charges. If you are not familiar with the logistics of the types of crimes and charges, it may seem confusing. We’d like to offer some clarity on the different types of charges that can occur.
- Infraction: Infractions are the most common and least serious type of charge one can face. In most cases, the person charged with an infraction won’t have to face court time or jail time. An infraction typically includes a wrong action being committed and an officer citing the person at the time. The person is handed a ticket and a fine is usually to be paid. Common instances of infractions include: traffic tickets, jaywalking, parking tickets.
- Misdemeanor: A misdemeanor is a step up from an infraction in degree of seriousness. Crimes charged as a misdemeanor usually are those that can be prosecuted with up to a year in jail (not prison). When a misdemeanor is committed, the prosecutors usually have a high degree of flexibility with plea bargains, which crimes to charge, and sentencing.
- Felony: A felony is the highest degree of crime committed. These crimes are usually punishable by at least 1 year+ of prison time. These types of crime include murder, rape, theft, kidnapping. In the case of a felony, there is very little wiggle room when it comes to the type of punishment. The type of punishment for a felony usually matches the degree of crime.
An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you get the least amount of sentencing for whatever charges you may face. It’s important to call an attorney as soon as you fear you are going to be charged. Doing so will ensure your rights are protected.