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What kinds of crimes are there?

While St. Clair Shores, Michigan, is full of law-abiding citizens, some people in the area do run afoul of the law. Those individuals find themselves in need of a criminal defense attorney, who will help them to put together a strong case.

One of the key parts of any case is understanding whether the charges against the defendant are infractions, felony charges or misdemeanor charges, and what distinguishes each from the other.

What is an infraction?

Infractions are widely viewed as the least serious kind of crime. Crimes of that kind include traffic tickets and jaywalking. Typically, the offender will get a ticket that requires them to pay a fine within a specific number of days. If they fail to pay it when they are supposed to, however, they may incur more severe penalties.

What are misdemeanors?

Misdemeanors are a kind of crime that are viewed as more serious than infractions and are typically punishable by up to a year of jail time. The jail time may be served in a local county jail, as opposed to a state or federal prison. Prosecutors often have a lot of leeway with misdemeanor charges and can negotiate various sorts of plea bargains.

What is a felony?

A felony is the most serious kind of crime. It typically involves punishments of more than one year in prison. Often punishments are much more than one year in prison, and can be life, or even the death penalty in some states. Felony cases often involve burglary or violent crimes against persons like murder, rape and kidnapping. Since felonies involve the most severe punishments, correlating to the severe effects of the crimes committed, it is very important that all courtroom procedures be followed. That way, a defendant can be sure to have his or her right to a fair trial protected.

Source: FindLaw, "What Distinguishes a Misdemeanor From a Felony?," accessed Oct. 12, 2017

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