Residents of Michigan know that being accused of any crime is a very serious matter. However, if you find yourself having to deal with criminal affairs, it is very important to understand the terminology involved in the process. In the state of Michigan, crimes are either categorized as felonies or misdemeanors. This is also the same on the federal level. According to FindLaw, the main difference between felonies and misdemeanors is the severity of the crime and associated punishment.
Essentially, a misdemeanor crime is much less serious than a felony crime. Generally speaking, a misdemeanor will carry a jail sentence of no more than one year. There may be additional penalties associated with the misdemeanor depending on how serious the crime is, such as fines, probation, and community service. In the event that you are sentenced to jail for a misdemeanor, it is most common that you will be held in a local county jail as compared to a high-security penitentiary. The law process relating to misdemeanors also tends to be more informal, as the prosecutor has high amounts of flexibility when deciding how exactly to prosecute misdemeanor offenses.
On the other hand, felonies are far more serious crimes. High crimes such as murder, kidnapping, rape, and arson are all examples of felonious crimes. Michigan does not have the death penalty, but certain felonies can be punishable for up to life in prison. A felony crime will come with a jail sentence of over one year, and it will be served in a high-security prison.
Understanding the difference between a felony and misdemeanor can help you through the criminal arraignment process has. Understanding the charges against you is key.