If you are arrested and charged with a crime in Georgia, it is important to know the severity of the charges against you. In general, felony charges are more serious than misdemeanors and misdemeanors are more serious than violations. However, each charge can result in severe and long-lasting consequences that could adversely affect your entire life. Understanding the differences between these charges is the first step towards fighting them and protecting your future.
What is a Felony Offense?
A felony offense is a more heinous crime that is punishable by more than a year in prison. It is charged by the district attorney’s office and often handled in superior court. These sentences will typically be served in a state or federal prison and can range from just over a year in prison to life in prison or the death penalty. Felony offenses are generally grave crimes that are viewed harshly by society. As a result, even after you’ve served your time behind bars and paid your debt to society, you may find it difficult to gain employment, be approved for housing, or maintain relationships. These types of offenses stay on your criminal record forever and cannot be expunged.
What is a Misdemeanor Offense?
A misdemeanor offense in Georgia is generally not as serious of a crime as a felony offense. It is brought by the solicitor general’s office and is handled in either municipal court or state court. These types of offenses are punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine. There are also a high and aggravated misdemeanors that have significantly higher fines. Typically, misdemeanor crimes are served in a local county jail instead of a state or federal prison. These types of offenses typically remain on your criminal record; however, some may be expunged. Misdemeanor conviction typically will not usually have the same effect on employment, housing, and educational opportunities as felony convictions.
What is a Violation?
A violation in Georgia is also known as an infraction. These are the least serious types of crimes and are generally just a violation of a city or county rule or ordinance. Examples of violations include traffic tickets, trespassing, littering, or disturbing the peace. Typically, violations result in payment of a fine without any jail time, and they do not appear on a criminal record. If left unpaid or unaddressed, however, a violation could result in jail time or escalation of penalties.
Have You Been Arrested and Charged with a Crime in Atlanta?
Have you been arrested and charged with a felony, misdemeanor, or violation in Atlanta or anywhere in the state of Georgia? At Schnipper Law, P.C., our Atlanta criminal defense attorneys can help you protect your rights and your future no matter how serious the charges are against you. Felonies and misdemeanors can have long-lasting consequences and can adversely affect your entire future. To learn more about your legal rights, you need an experienced law firm on your side. Call Schnipper Law P.C., at (404) 545-5845 for a free initial consultation and review of your case.