Felonies and misdemeanors are two types of criminal offenses that are common in the state of Georgia, and Savannah residents need to understand the difference between the two.
A felony is a more serious criminal offense that carries more severe punishments, such as long-term imprisonment, heavy fines, and loss of rights. On the other hand, a misdemeanor is a less serious criminal offense that carries less severe punishments, such as shorter jail terms, smaller fines, and probation. Schneider Lerch Montgomery, LLC, a Savannah criminal defense firm, is dedicated to helping residents understand the differences between felonies and misdemeanors and the consequences of each. This comprehensive guide will explain the differences between the two, the punishments associated with each, and how to protect yourself if you are charged with either.
What Is a Felony?
A felony is a more serious criminal offense that is punishable by more than a year in prison or death. In Georgia, felony crimes are not classified into categories like level 1 or class A as in other states. Instead, the maximum penalty for each crime is defined in the statutes. Moreover, some crimes may have enhanced penalties, including mandatory minimum sentences.
Murder, for example, may be punishable by the death penalty in certain circumstances. Second-degree murder, kidnapping for ransom, and forcible rape are punishable by life in prison. Aggravated assault is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, and aggravated stalking may be punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Sentences may vary depending on any aggravating or mitigating circumstances.