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
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.