What Is The Difference Between A Felony, A Misdemeanor, And A Violation?

March 25th, 2014 by Attorney Dan Carman

Lexington KY misdemeanor lawyer

A felony is a more serious offense and will carry a more severe punishment than a misdemeanor or violation. Felonies are punishable by confinement in the penitentiary, and could also include fines and other penalties. Examples of felonies include murder, rape, robbery, and trafficking in a controlled substance.

Examples of felonies commonly charged in the federal system are conspiracy, fraud, drug distribution, perjury, and offenses related to firearms and child pornography. Conviction of any such offense often means time in federal prison.

A misdemeanor is a less serious offense and almost always carries a less severe punishment than a felony. The punishment is usually one year or less – often substantially less – of jail time to be served in somewhere other than a penitentiary, like in a county jail. Other penalties, such as a fine, may also be imposed. Examples of misdemeanors include DUI (1st, 2nd, and 3rd Offense), theft of items worth less than $500, and possession of marijuana.

A violation is the least severe offense of the three, and usually results in a fine, or in some cases, points against a driving record. Examples of violations include Speeding and other traffic offenses, such as Careless Driving.

If you (or a loved one) have been charged with a felony, misdemeanor, or violation in Kentucky or in the Lexington area in particular, and wish to talk to a Kentucky Criminal Lawyer for free – call my office at (859) 838-1415 for a free consultation.