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What is a felony charge?

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FELONIES are defined as criminal offenses with maximum penalties greater than one year in prison. Felony charges include murder, malicious wounding, and armed robbery, as well as grand larceny, possession of cocaine or heroin and other serious charges. The classification of crime as a felony is based upon the maximum sentence provided by law -- not by what a court actually imposes. Each state and the federal government have their own criminal codes. The element of a particular crime can vary as can the sentencing classification. MISDEMEANOR: Officenses that have a penalty that can include up to one year in jail. The least serious offenses, such as most traffice offenses, are considered infractions for which the penalty is generally under $100 fines. These offenses are generally quick and simple to define and resolve. Most misdemeanors are handled by the issuing of a citation from an arresting officer or a complaint filed by a prosecutor. The citation or complaint includes a short statement of the offense with which you are charged and states whether the offense is an infraction, a misdemeanor, or a felony. Misdemeanors are divided into 4 classes (I, II, III and IV), A Class I misdemeanor is the most prevalent and most serious of all. Class 1 misdeamenors include possession of marijuana, petty parceny (shoplifting) assault and battery, and misdemeanor bad check. Also, several serious traffic offences (DUI, driving while suspended, reckless driving, etc.) are listed as Class 1 misdemeanors.
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