What Is the Difference Between Misdemeanors and Felonies?

 Posted on March 13,2015 in Felonies & Misdemeanors

misdemeanor, felony, Arlington Heights Criminal Defense LawyerNo matter how minor or major the charges, nobody wants to face the consequences of breaking the law. Unfortunately, people make mistakes that can lead to serious charges.

One way to ease some of the anxiety is to understand the laws that relate to your case. Many people are unsure about the differences between the two main categories of criminal offenses: misdemeanors and felonies. The category under which your offense falls will almost certainly affect the potential severity of your penalties. Knowing what constitutes each can give you a clearer picture of whatever legal situation you may be facing.

Understanding Misdemeanors

Misdemeanor offenses are typically less serious than felonies. Still, it is important to take misdemeanor charges seriously as the penalties could involve steep fines, jail time, and restrictions that limit your personal opportunities. Multiple misdemeanor offenses may lead to harsher penalties.

Misdemeanor offenses fall into one of three classes: Class A, Class B, and Class C. Class A misdemeanors are the most serious, and Class C offenses are lighter charges. Examples of misdemeanors may include shoplifting or retail theft, if the item is valued at under $300, or simple assault.

Understanding Felonies

Felonies are serious crimes that can dramatically affect a person’s life and opportunities. Although you should never take any charge lightly—whether it is a misdemeanor or felony—it is especially important that you seek experienced legal counsel when facing felony charges.

According to, Illinois recognizes four classes of felonies: Class X and Classes 1, 2, and 3. Class X felonies carry the most severe criminal charges as they represent the most serious charges, including; these include aggravated criminal sexual assault, armed robbery and major drug trafficking charges. Sentences nearly always involve prison time.

Classes 1, 2, and 3 involve lesser but still extremely serious charges, and convictions usually result in jail time and steep fines. Like misdemeanors, multiple felony offenses can lead to harsher penalties.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Lawyer in Arlington, Ill.

If you are facing misdemeanor or felony charges, a qualified lawyer can provide invaluable advice and assistance. Contact an experienced Arlington Heights criminal defense attorney at the office of Scott F. Anderson, Attorney at Law. Mr. Anderson has fought on behalf of clients for more than 23 years and gives each case the attention it deserves. He has handled cases involving murder, robbery, weapons charges, sex crimes, and many others. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, call us at 847-253-3400 today.

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