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Ask Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP: Felony vs. Misdemeanor

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Criminal Defense

bombasticbeanQuestion: What is the difference between a felony and misdemeanor charge?

crime is a violation of the law that could result in a period of incarceration as a possible punishment. Crimes are considered either misdemeanors or felonies, and of the two, felonies are the most serious that can carry a possible prison sentence. In Wisconsin felonies are classified by a lettering system ranging from a Class A, which is the most serious felony charge and can carry a sentence of life imprisonment, to Class I which is the least serious eighteen months of prison.

In addition to carrying the potential for long prison sentences, felony convictions result in the loss of certain privileges and rights, including the right to vote (until the completion of the sentence) and the right to possess a firearm (lifetime ban). Additionally, felonies typically have to be disclosed to potential employers and other authorities.

By comparison, misdemeanors in the State of Wisconsin are offenses punishable by a sentence in a local county jail. These sentences typically cannot exceed a term of one year; however, if an individual is convicted of multiple misdemeanor charges, they run the risk of incarceration for more than a year. In Wisconsin, if a person is under age 25 when he or she commits a misdemeanor offense, the record can be expunged by the court after the sentence has been completed (Note: the arrest record will still remain on record).

It is important to remember that if you or someone you know is facing a felony or misdemeanor charge, there are always options. Be sure you consult a qualified attorney to determine the best course of action for your situation.

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