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Frequently Asked Questions About Felony and Misdemeanor Crimes

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                        Frequently Asked Questions About Felony and Misdemeanor Crimes
                                                           By Joseph Hawthorne



   - What is a felony?

 The most serious types of crimes are referred to as felonies. The usual definition is that a felony is any
crime that may be punished by more than a year's imprisonment, or death. A crime that has a
maximum sentence of a monetary fine, or a short period of confinement in the local jail is not a felony.
A statute may not specifically label an offense as a felony, but the punishment defines the offense as a
felony. State criminal codes may call a crime an "aggravated" or "gross" misdemeanor, but the offense
calls for a sentence of more than one year in the state penal system. Those offenses will be treated as
felonies. When crimes charged are more serious, the need for an experienced criminal defense
attorney to help a defendant through the process becomes even greater.

 Felonies include both violent and non-violent crimes, such as grand theft, embezzlement of large
sums of money, first degree assault, or assault that causes severe bodily harm, all degrees of murder,
rape, racketeering, large scale fraud, kidnapping, and serious drug crimes.

- What are the consequences of a felony convictions?

 If a person is convicted of a felony, he or she may find that his or her rights may be restricted more
than those of a person convicted of a misdemeanor. Convicted felons usually serve more time
incarcerated, and the conditions of their incarceration generally are more severe. There are many other
consequences, as well. In many states, people convicted of felonies may not serve on juries. They may
lose their right to vote, or to engage in some professions, like teaching or law. Felons are often
prohibited from serving in the military, or owning firearms. In addition, as noted above, many states
have so-called "three strikes" laws that require that a person be sentenced to life upon his or her third
felony conviction. Experienced defense counsel, will help you not only before and during a trial, but can
make sure you may be able to return to a normal life as soon as you can.

- What is a Misdemeanor?

 Crimes that are regarded as less serious are referred to as misdemeanors. A misdemeanor usually is
punishable by a fine, or by incarceration in a local jail for a period of less than one year. Prosecutors
typically do not convene a grand jury to investigate or issue indictments for misdemeanor charges,
although the same conduct may give rise to both felony and misdemeanor charges. Misdemeanors are

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usually charged by a written complaint, or "information." In some states, poor defendants are not
entitled to a court-appointed attorney when charged only with a misdemeanor. The charges may be
considered minor, but being accused of a misdemeanor-not to mention being convicted of one-can
cause a major disruption in the life of an accused. As in any criminal case, it is essential that a
defendant in a misdemeanor prosecution have zealous representation backing him or her up. A person
accused of a misdemeanor should seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

 Misdemeanors sometimes are handled in special courts that have streamlined procedures. For
example, in some states, a defendant who wants a jury trial in a misdemeanor case will have to make
a special request, and a fee. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to advise you on
the procedures followed in your particular jurisdiction.

- What are penalties for misdemeanors?

 As a rule, the penalties and other consequences of a misdemeanor conviction are less severe than
those of a felony conviction. Not only do the jail sentences imposed tend to be shorter, but the broader
consequences are not as dramatic. Usually, a person who has a misdemeanor conviction on his or her
record may still vote, serve on a jury, and practice his or her profession. Defense counsel may, in some
cases, be able to "plead down" a felony to a misdemeanor, which will not only minimize the
punishment imposed, but will lessen the consequences for the future.

- What's the difference between misdemeanors or felonies?

 Depending upon the circumstances of the case, some crimes may be considered either felonies or
misdemeanors. Serious felonies, for example, assault or sexual abuse, often refer to conduct that
could be a misdemeanor. If an assault causes severe bodily injury, for example, it is often regarded as
a felony. Simple assault that causes no lasting injury, however, is a misdemeanor. Similarly, while drug
offenses usually are felonies, possession of a small amount of marijuana is a misdemeanor in many
states.

 Less serious offenses, such as traffic violations, are often prosecuted as misdemeanors, even though
they may be felonies in some circumstances, or the most minor type of crime, infractions, in others. A
traffic violation usually is an infraction if there was no collision, no one was hurt, and no property was
damaged. The violation becomes a misdemeanor or a felony if someone is injured, or there was
destruction of property.

 The information you obtain from this article is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should
consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.

http://www.caplanlaw.com/ A Minneapolis MN DWI defense attorney at a local law firm can provide you
with an experienced DWI defense lawyer in Minnesota.




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                                              Criminal Defense Practice Specialties
                                                                By Adam Roth



A summary of common criminal defense practice specialties.

 -DWI and DUI Defense - Issues arising from operation of a vehicle (including cars/trucks, boats,
snowmobiles, etc.) while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or while intoxicated or impaired. DWI
and DUI charges carry a wide range of penalties and collateral consequences. If injuries are sustained,
charges could include criminal vehicular operation and homicide. DWI and DUI charges can range
from a misdemeanor to felony level.

 -BWI Defense - Issues arising from operation of a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs,
or while intoxicated or impaired. If injuries are sustained, charges could include criminal vehicular
operation and homicide.

 -SWI Defense - Issues arising from operation of a snowmobile while under the influence of alcohol or
drugs, or while intoxicated or impaired. If injuries are sustained, charges could include criminal
vehicular operation and homicide.

 -Wisconsin OWI cases - Issues arising in Wisconsin from operation of a vehicle (including cars/truck,
boats, snowmobiles, etc.) while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or while intoxicated or
impaired. If injuries are sustained, charges could include criminal vehicular operation and homicide.

 -Sexual Crimes Defense - Sex offenses vary dramatically depending on the crime. Focuses on issues
arising from sexual assault, rape, statutory rape, nonconsensual sex, sexual crime against a child,
possession of pornographic images of children, prostitution, etc.

 -Internet Crimes Defense – Issues arising from identity theft, computer hacking, cyber stalking,
internet fraud, possession of child pornography, as well as many other types of crimes.

 -Violent Crimes Defense – Crimes including homicide (murder), manslaughter, domestic violence or
domestic assault, rape, theft and larceny through aggravated assault, assault and battery or terroristic
threats, arson, as well as many other types crimes that are considered violent.

-Drug Crimes Defense – Crimes including drug possession, drug trafficking, drug distribution and drug
manufacturing as well as prescription fraud.

 -Property Crimes Defense – Crimes include criminal damage to property, theft, forgery, possession of
stolen property, and credit card transaction fraud.

 -White Collar Crimes - White collar crimes include many subcategories of criminal activity. They focus
on issues arising from embezzlement, credit card fraud, computer/internet fraud, bank fraud, issuing
worthless checks, bribery, antitrust violations, etc. Other types of issues include extortion, forgery,
insurance fraud, money laundering, tax evasion and securities fraud.

 -Felonies & Misdemeanors - Generally, a felony is any crime that may be punished by more than a
year in prison. A felony charge might be issued for grand theft, 1st degree assault, murder, rape,


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kidnapping, racketeering, etc. A misdemeanor is a crime of a less serious nature. More descriptive
similarities and differences between the two also help reinforce the importance of an experienced and
knowledgeable attorney when faced with either of these charges.

 -Minnesota Criminal Defense - Issues arising from terroristic threats, hate crimes, crimes of omission,
orders for protection, harassment/stalking orders, assaults (including domestic assault), drug-related
offenses, criminal vehicular operation (which can include cars/trucks, boats, snowmobiles) and well as
many other types of criminal charges.

-Federal Crimes - Federal crimes constitute a violation of a statute passed by the United States
Congress. Can also include crimes committed across state lines.

 The information you obtain from this article is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should
consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.

http://www.caplanlaw.com/  A Minneapolis MN criminal defense lawyer or attorney at a local law
firm can provide you with an experienced criminal defense attorney or lawyer in Minnesota.




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