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What is the Difference Between a Felony and Misdemeanor?

There are two main classifications of crime in the criminal justice system that can be branched into two general categories. Felonies andmisdemeanors, these two terms are separated by the severity of the punishment. Misdemeanors are the less serious of the two and receives a shorter sentence whereas felonies are very serious and receive longer and more harsh punishment. Although these terms may not be something you think about on a daily basis, knowing the difference may help you to make better choices or help you to avoid any activities that may cause either label to be associated with yourself.


The term misdemeanor is used to describe offenses that are less serious than felonies. A misdemeanor crime is usually something that does not cause serious harm to anyone or anything. Many people have probably committed a misdemeanor crime without even knowing it. Speeding on the highway or walking around drunk late at night are both crimes that are considered misdemeanor. This means that someone classified for a misdemeanor crime receives punishment that is less than a year of jail time, a monetary fine, or penalty of some sort. Here is a list of crimes that are usually classified as misdemeanor in the state of Texas.

  • Petty theft

  • Simple assault

  • Public intoxication

  • Disorderly conduct

  • Trespassing

  • Vandalism (graffiti)

  • Prostitution

  • Traffic violations


The term felony is used to describe very serious crimes. These crimes are labeled as such because of the degree to which they harm others. Partaking in felony crimes means that you could receive a punishment of a year or more in prison, all the way up to the death penalty. Here are some examples of felony crimes.

  • Kidnapping

  • Assault

  • Murder

  • Rape

  • Arson

Although the criminal justice system can seem very intimidating, you can feel comfortable contacting Kyle Law Firm. They have experienced attorneys and free consultations that can help you, with your legal needs.

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