Answer: When you commit a crime in our society, you have to be punished. How much punishment a criminal gets depends on how bad their crime was.
To help determine how bad a crime was, the crime is called either a ‘felony’ or a ‘misdemeanor’.
Felonies are more serious crimes, and misdemeanors are less serious crimes. Both can also result in imprisonment.
Felonies and misdemeanors are also given a number explaining how serious the crime is. The most serious crime is a ‘class one felony’, and the least serious crime is a ‘class three misdemeanor’. Here’s how the order goes: CLASS 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6 FELONIES, CLASS 1, 2 & 3 MISDEMEANORS. A class 1 misdemeanor falls right after a class 6 felony.
Punishment is based off of this system, and can result in either jail time, a fine, or both. The jail time for felonies is based off of their class according to the following chart:
For a class 2 felony
Min 4 yrs
Max 10 yrs
For a class 3 felony
Min 2.5 yrs
Max 7 yrs
For a class 4 felony
Min 1.5 yrs
Max 3 yrs
For a class 5 felony
Min 9 months
Max 2 yrs
For a class 6 felony
Min 6 months
Max 1.5 yrs
Misdemeanors are also given jail time in accordance with their class according to the following chart
1. For a class 1 misdemeanor, six months.
2. For a class 2 misdemeanor, four months.
3. For a class 3 misdemeanor, thirty days.
Similarly, punishment for crimes consisting of fines are based off of the seriousness of the crime, and are determined by the court at your hearing. Our laws limit fines to certain amounts:
1. Felonies may not exceed a fine of $150,000
2. Class 1 misdemeanors may not exceed $2,500
3. Class 2 misdemeanors may not exceed $750
4. Class 3 misdemeanors may not exceed $500
Please note that the punishment for your crime depends on your criminal record, or whether you’ve committed any crimes in the past. If you have a clean record [no crimes in your past] then you’ll get an easier sentence. If you have a record [there are crimes in your past] then you’ll likely get a more serious sentence.
Another important difference between a felony and a misdemeanor conviction is the impact that they will have on a person’s future. When that person makes it out of jail and tries to get a job, a felony conviction will likely continue to haunt the criminal. Most employers want to know about all felony convictions – so if you are ever convicted of any felony, you would have to tell your employer. If you had just a misdemeanor, you would have some more privacy in this respect