A misdemeanor is a less serious offense; the maximum penalty is a $1,000 fine and 12 months in jail.
The severity of a crime is the main differentiator between misdemeanors and felonies. A misdemeanor is a minor offense, which generally means it is less serious than a felony. Examples of these types of offenses are public intoxication, loitering, speeding, trespassing, and petty theft. As you can tell, these crimes do not cause any severe damage or trauma to another person or property. Typically, these are non-violent crimes, and they are mistakes that anyone could make.
The maximum penalty is a $1,000 fine and no more than 12 months in a county or local jail. A misdemeanor conviction, however, does remain on your criminal history and could impact you later in life. For example, because your criminal history appears on your background check, it could discourage employers from hiring you or giving you a promotion. It could also result in a loss of financial aid for your education, a loss of your driving privileges, and/or publication of your picture in the local newspaper.
It is also possible to be charged with a high and aggravated misdemeanor in the state of Georgia. For these, you can be fined up to $5,000 but you can still only be sentenced to a maximum of one year in jail. An example of a high and aggravated misdemeanor is battery of a family member, a pregnant woman, or an elderly person. Battery is any unconsented physical contact with another person.
Even though these crimes are considered to be petty mistakes, they can still have great consequences and can be damaging to your reputation.
Don’t let one mistake affect your happiness and success for years to come; it is important that you take these offenses seriously and contact an Atlanta criminal lawyer for counsel and representation. As Atlanta criminal attorneys at Pak and McRae Law, LLC, we will do everything we can to make sure this one mistake doesn’t define your future.
A felony is the most serious crime. In requires jail time as punishment, no less than one year up to whatever the max is on that charge. A felony is going to look much worse than a misdemeanor on your criminal record. If not handled properly, you also lose your right to vote if you’ve been convicted of a felony. You could also lose your right to a firearm.
Unlike a misdemeanor, a felony is a crime that causes severe damage or harm to another person or property. It typically involves violence, but this is not always the case.
Examples of felonies include but are not limited to the following:
- Murder and manslaughter
- Possession of over an ounce of marijuana
- Possession of any other drug
- Certain repeat DUI charges
In Georgia, a felony is punishable by a sentence of one year or more in state prison, in addition to significant fines; the minimum prison time is one year and the maximum depends on the charge. Depending on your charge, you could be looking at 10 years in prison, 25 years, or life imprisonment, and everything in between.
These types of offenses look much worse than a misdemeanor on your criminal record. If not handled properly, you may lose your right to vote with a conviction. You could also lose your right to a firearm. In short, the consequences of a felony are much more long lasting than those for misdemeanors.
The felony process in Georgia typically involves three major steps: the arrest, the arraignment, and the trial. It is important that these events are handled according to the law, which is why it is crucial that you have a criminal defense attorney with you at all times from the very start to ensure that your rights are upheld.
The Atlanta criminal lawyers at Pak and McRae Law, LLC can advise you and protect your rights even at the scene of the arrest. It is also very important that you have an attorney by your side at the arraignment as well. The arraignment is your mandatory court appearance where your charges are read to you and you will have the opportunity to plead guilty, not guilty, no contest, or mute. And of course, we highly discourage you from going through the trial process without legal representation.
In short, the consequences of a felony are much more long-lasting than those for misdemeanors.
For immigrants, the real consequences come later with felonies and misdemeanors. Click here to learn more information about how we help immigrants when they have a felony or misdemeanor on their record.