Examples of Felonies and Misdemeanors

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Often times it is difficult to understand the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony. It all comes down to time of incarceration. A misdemeanor carries a maximum punishment of 12 months incarceration, or jail time. Felonies are crimes that receive punishment in excess of 12 months incarceration. Larsen Law Firm provides knowledgeable and experienced criminal attorneys in Provo, Utah. We want you to better understand the differences between felonies and misdemeanors as well as the levels of severity of the crime committed.


This can contain multiple levels of severity depending on the type of assault committed. In the case of assault, threatening to cause harm to a person but not carrying through on the threat would be classified as a misdemeanor. Assault that resulted in actual bodily injury, or in which a weapon was used as part of the assault, would be considered a felony.


This is another example of a crime that has different levels of severity resulting in different punishments. Petty theft is the unlawful taking of property or money from another person without their consent. Depending on the amount of money or valuables taken will determine on whether it will be treated as a misdemeanor or a felony. Many states consider theft of up to $500 a misdemeanor and larger amounts to be a felony. Felony theft is often referred to as larceny.

Indecent Exposure

This is a crime that distinguishes misdemeanor vs. felony by who the act of indecent exposure was committed against. Exposing one’s private parts in public in such a way as to alarm others is considered to be a misdemeanor. However, if the exposure is before a child, then the crime rises to the level of a felony. Depending on the state you reside in when the crime is committed will determine the set age limit between child and adult in regards to indecent exposure.

Traffic Violations

In most cases, traffic violations result in a misdemeanor. Such misdemeanor traffic violations include: speeding, driving without a license, driving without insurance, and DUI’s. The severity of traffic violations increases to a felony when the driver either leaves the scene of an accident or in vehicle homicide. Repeated DUI’s will also result in a felony.

As mentioned before the main difference between a misdemeanor and a felony is based solely on the severity of the crime and the time of the punishment received. Misdemeanors such as traffic violations, petty theft, trespass, etc. will result in jail time anywhere from 6 months to a year and fines generally from $1000 to $2000 depending on the state. Felonies such as rape, murder, kidnapping, etc. will result in increased jail time that can go as high as life in prison or the death penalty.

If you have any more questions on the difference between misdemeanors and felonies please feel free to contact one of our criminal attorneys at Larsen Law Firm in Provo, Utah. We are here to share our knowledge and experience with you.

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