Misdemeanor v Felony

Posted By The Law Office of Kelley M. Enderley, PC || 10-Aug-2015

People are often confused by the difference between a Misdemeanor and a Felony. A Misdemeanor is an offense that is punishable by up to one year in a county jail facility, whereas a Felony is one that is punishable by a year or more in a state prison facility.

Misdemeanors are handled in the local justice courts of the town/city/village in which the crime is alleged to have been committed. A judge hears these charges in the local justice court whereby they can be conducted with a jury trial or the trial may be heard by the Judge alone to make a decision. Misdemeanors have many plea options that can be reached prior to going to trial that would include but not be limited to individuals being placed on probation for a period of time up to three years, community service and fines.

A felony is a crime that is often started in the local justice court of the town/city/village in which the crime is alleged to have been committed. If the crime is reduced to either a misdemeanor or a violation the case will remain in the local justice court. Should the charge not be reduced or a plea taken to a misdemeanor or violation then the case will remain in the local justice court.

If a case remains a felony for either a plea to be taken or a trial to occur the case must be transfer to a County Court. This occurs in one of two ways. The first is through a Superior Court Information whereby a plea is being accepted and taken by the Defendant. The second is whereby the Defendant’s case is brought before a Grand Jury and prior to the case being able to proceed, a Grand Jury Indictment is necessary. Upon a Grand Jury Indictment occurring the case is then brought before a County Court Judge who will hear the case to conclusion.