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McIntosh Law | Advocates for The Accused Since 1993

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Phone: 941-306-3230

What is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?

On Behalf of | Nov 23, 2022 | blog, Felonies

Understanding the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor chart is paramount during the criminal justice process. Depending on the nature of the crime the courts accuse you of, you may face either a misdemeanor or a felony. In some cases, the courts can decide which to charge you with, even if it is the same crime.

Overall, a misdemeanor is much less serious than a felony. According to FindLaw, there are great differences between misdemeanors and felonies, and a key way to tell between them is how long the potential jail time is for the crime.


No matter what the misdemeanor is, the jail time for it will be no longer than one year. In Florida, the most serious misdemeanor is a “misdemeanor of the first degree.” This can land you in prison for a year, and also involve a fine of up to $1000. Examples of these misdemeanors include battery and cyberstalking.

Misdemeanors of the second degree are less serious, and only carry a potential jail sentence of 60 days. Examples of these misdemeanors include assault, petit theft and prostitution. Penalties become more severe for repeat misdemeanors.


Felonies include any crime where jail time is greater than one year. Famous examples of felonies involve rape, murder and arson. Typically, a convicted person serves their sentence in a prison, rather than a county jail. The death penalty is also a possible punishment for committing a felony in Florida. Felony trials tend to be much more strict than misdemeanor trials since the punishments can be very severe.

Understanding the difference between misdemeanors and felonies can help you greatly when going through the Florida criminal system.

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