WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT CLASSIFICATIONS OF CRIMES?
When a person is charged with a crime, they are informed of the charges that have been brought against them. These charges are typically divided into certain categories that very in seriousness and potential punishment. But what are these different classifications of crimes?
Generally, there are three different types of criminal charges – infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies – with infractions being the least serious and felonies the most serious. Typically, the state legislature determines which crimes fall into which category by looking at the severity of the act and the act’s impact on society at large.
Infractions or Violations
Infractions or violations are typically the least serious crime that a person can be charged with. Generally, although an infraction or violation is technically a crime, an infraction or violation is punishable only by fines, not jail time or probation. As such, most people who are charged with an infraction or violation represent themselves due to the minor consequences involved. Additionally, individuals do not have a Constitutional right for a court appointed lawyer for infractions or violations.
Misdemeanors are defined as crimes that are punishable by up to a year in jail. However, most misdemeanors are resolved through the paying of a fine, probation, community service, or restitution. However, upon request, a defendant can have a jury trial for their misdemeanor. Additionally, a defendant can also request a court appointed attorney for their misdemeanor.
Felonies are defined as crimes that are punishable by more then a year in jail or prison. Felonies are the most serious crime that a criminal defendant can be charged with. Typically, felonies involve some form of physical harm or violence against another person. Punishments for felonies can range from at least one year in jail to the death sentence.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney that can help zealously defend your case. Contact Us at Minick Law, P.C. for a free consultation on your case.