Misdemeanor vs. Felony Offenses in Tennessee

When it comes to criminal law, there are two main categories of offenses: misdemeanors and felonies. Both are serious offenses that can have serious consequences, but there are important differences between the two. In this blog post, we’ll explain the differences between misdemeanors and felonies and what elevates a misdemeanor to a felony.

What Is a Misdemeanor?

A misdemeanor is a minor criminal offense that typically is punishable by a fine or a jail sentence of up to one year. Examples of misdemeanors include petty theft, disorderly conduct, and minor traffic violations. In most cases, misdemeanors are handled in a local court and do not require a jury trial.

What Is a Felony?

A felony is a more serious criminal offense that is punishable by a longer jail sentence, usually of more than one year. Examples of felonies include burglary, sexual assault, and murder. Felonies are typically handled in a higher court, such as a state or federal court, and require a jury trial.

What Elevates a Misdemeanor to a Felony?

There are several factors that can elevate a misdemeanor to a felony. The most common factor is the severity of the crime. For example, if a person is convicted of a misdemeanor theft offense and the value of the stolen item is more than a certain amount, the offense may be elevated to a felony. Other factors that can elevate a misdemeanor to a felony include the offender’s criminal history and the number of offenses committed.

Consequences of a Misdemeanor or Felony Conviction

The consequences of a misdemeanor or felony conviction can be serious and long-lasting. A conviction can lead to a jail or prison sentence, fines, probation, and a criminal record. A criminal record can make it difficult to find employment, housing, and other opportunities.

Get Legal Help

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor or felony in Franklin, TN, it is important to get legal help as soon as possible. The attorneys at Puryear, Newman & Morton, PLLC, are experienced in criminal defense and can help you understand your rights and options. We will work with you to develop a defense strategy that is tailored to your unique situation. Our goal is to get the best possible outcome for your case. Contact us today to learn more about our services.