What Are The Differences Between a Misdemeanor and Felony Offense?

Criminal offenses in Pennsylvania are split up into felonies, misdemeanors and sometimes summary offenses. Felonies are the most severe category of offenses. Within this category, there are three classes: Felony 1, Felony 2 and Felony 3 and the penalties vary by class. The penalties that can follow these felony charges include:

  • Felony in the 1st degree- prison time for up to 20 years and a fine of up to $25,000
  • Felony in the 2nd degree - prison time for up to 10 years and a fine of up to $25,000
  • Felony in the 3rd degree - prison time for up to seven years and a fine of up to $15,000

Misdemeanors are less serious criminal offenses that result in less severe penalties. Similar to the breakdown of felony offenses, there are different degrees of misdemeanor offenses. The potential consequences that may follow a misdemeanor offense depends on the degree of misdemeanor, here is the breakdown of penalties:

  • Misdemeanor in the 1st degree- prison time for up to five years and a fine of up to $10,000
  • Misdemeanor in the 2nd degree- prison time for up to two years and a fine of up to $5,000
  • Misdemeanor in the 3rd degree- prison time for up to one year and a fine of up to $2,500

To give you an example of how offenses are categorized into these groups, some offenses that are often classified as misdemeanors include: loitering, prostitution, disorderly conduct, minor assault and minor drug offenses. Felony offenses are more serious and may include: murder, rape, kidnapping, sexual assault, arson, burglary etc. Summary offenses are less severe offenses than misdemeanors and they may result in up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $300. If you have questions regarding any of these types of offenses or the difference between the categories, feel free to contact me today. I, Curtis E. Barnes, Attorney at Law, have nearly two decades of experience and can help you get an idea of the charges you are facing and the possible defenses.

Categories: Felonies, Misdemeanors
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