What is the Difference Between Misdemeanor vs. Felony?

Interviewer: As far as misdemeanors and felonies, what are the more significant differences between the two?

Zach Peagler: Well, most misdemeanor cases in Alabama have a maximum punishment of 12 months in the county jail or the municipal jail where you’ve been charged. They carry significantly less stigma with them, too. If you took a survey of the population, I don’t know what the exact percentage would be, but a much higher percentage of the population probably has a misdemeanor record of some sort.

Felonies carry a huge stigma. You give up all kinds of rights, depending on the type of felony you’ve been charged with, but you’re going to lose your right to vote and probably your employment. Your employability, if you have a felony on your record, diminishes significantly. Most employers don’t want to hire someone with a felony record. Then from a punishment standpoint, Alabama has classes of felonies – class A, B and C. With the C class felony, which is the lowest level felony, the minimum punishment for a first-time offender on a C class felony is a year and a day in the state penitentiary. That’s a lot different than 12 months in a county jail.

On a B class felony, the minimum is two years in the state penitentiary, so felonies and misdemeanors are vastly different, and what you’re going to end up paying a lawyer to deal with those two types of cases is vastly different as well, because the felonies are way more involved to try to make sure that the best possible outcome is achieved.

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