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Felonies vs. Misdemeanors: What’s the Difference in Alabama?

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What Constitutes a Misdemeanor Charge in Alabama?

There is an enormous difference between being charged with a misdemeanor and a felony in Alabama. Misdemeanor charges are significantly less severe. Depending on the crime, you could face a fine of just up to $500.

However, any felony charge is much more severe, can impose harsh penalties and fines, and land you in prison for life. If you are facing either charge, your life can be impacted enormously, and an Alabama criminal defense lawyer’s help and professional legal guidance are mandatory.

If you’re charged with a crime in Alabama, it is always done using a series of classifications. These classifications are ranked, with the most severe being a Class A misdemeanor and the least severe being a Class C misdemeanor.

Many things may affect what “class” you are being charged with, which is commonly determined by the severity of your crime. However, other factors such as repeat offenses, hate crimes, and more will also factor into the misdemeanor classification.

For example, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana could be a Class A misdemeanor.

Class B misdemeanors are less severe but still can impose thousands of dollars in fines. Examples of Class B misdemeanors could include witness tampering or animal cruelty.

Class C misdemeanors can be significantly more minor crimes and may impose a maximum fine of $500 and three months of jail time.

A massive difference between misdemeanor and felony charges is how their penalties are carried out. Usually, misdemeanor jail time is served in the county jail, whereas most felony jail time is done in more prominent penitentiaries under much harsher and stricter conditions.

What Constitutes a Felony Charge in Alabama?

Being convicted of a felony in Alabama can (and usually is) be a life-changing experience. The consequences can mandate a few years in prison and go to life in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

Felonies may be, at times, similar to misdemeanor charges, and there is a classification system; but there are differences. For example, under the felony classification system, there is an added  “Class D” felony, and any imposed fines commonly have a higher dollar amount.

 The main difference between the two types of charges (felonies & misdemeanors) is that felony charges are always reserved for more severe crimes. They carry huge fines and much more extensive longer jail sentences.

For example, if you’re convicted of a Class A felony, you could have up to a life sentence and tens of thousands of dollars in fines. While a Class A misdemeanor imposes a maximum jail sentence of one year in prison, usually up to a $6,000 fine.

Class A felonies include crimes such as first-degree rape, murder, kidnapping, and arson and are reserved for violent crimes or crimes that may be “life-threatening” to another.

So, even a misdemeanor conviction can alter your life; a felony charge and subsequent conviction can change it forever!

Suppose you’ve received a misdemeanor or felony charge. In that case, the best path is to contact and consult a qualified, experienced, and aggressive Alabama criminal defense lawyer to obtain the best outcome possible for you and your family.

What Are Some Examples of Alabama Misdemeanor & Felony Charges.

Even though getting immediate representation for both charges is always wise, these charges can be similar. Also, even a misdemeanor charge can be raised to a felony, especially if weapons or violence are involved.

Some examples of standard misdemeanor charges include:

  • Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs.
  • Shoplifting.
  • Certain types of domestic violence.
  • Possessing less than 20 grams of marijuana (if applicable in your county or state).
  • Vandalism of all sorts.

Some common felony charges are:

  • Murder or homicide.
  • Sexual battery and kidnapping.
  • Carjacking.
  • Robbery.
  • Embezzlement.

Let’s be clear, though, often under Alabama law, the crimes may be similar. Still, the circumstances of your offense and degree of severity can quickly turn a misdemeanor into a felony charge. Also, suppose your experienced and knowledgeable Alabama criminal defense lawyer finds a way to mitigate a felony charge down to a misdemeanor. In that case, it can impact your case’s outcome enormously in a positive manner.

What Are Some Defenses For a Criminal Charge in Alabama?

First, an experienced criminal defense lawyer will tell you that all crimes and charges differ in the type and severity of the incident.

You must never forget that it is not equivalent to a criminal conviction if you’re arrested with allegations of criminal wrongdoing. To convict you, the Alabama state prosecutor must present evidence at your trial and prove every factor involved in your crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

Let’s say you took property belonging to another person but intended to return it; this might not even be a crime. The criminal codes of Alabama (for example, the Ala. Code 1975, § 13A-6-43 Kidnapping First Degree) are highly detailed and complex.

To criminalize your conduct, these statutes must be written clearly and detailed so that the public and the police know what is and what is not criminal behavior.

Let’s say you were convicted of a felony charge, but the state prosecutors failed to prove each element of the crime as written in the statute. Then two things may occur; they might not obtain a conviction, or your lawyer could mitigate your charges downward to a misdemeanor.

It’s clear that all cases are different, but often the deciding factor is your criminal defense lawyer’s experience, knowledge, and negotiating and trial skills. So, choosing the most effective, winning, and aggressive legal defense lawyer is often your best defense.

I Need More Information About a Felony or Misdemeanor Charge; What Should I Do?

If you’re charged with a misdemeanor or especially a felony crime, no matter what your charges are, you need a skilled criminal defense lawyer. You should take no charge lightly, as they can affect your life negatively, possibly for years to come.

The Jim Golden Law firm is and has always been, dedicated and aggressive in its defense of protecting your rights and providing the best legally possible defense. No matter what the charge, call them today at (866) 950-6652 and allow them to “get ahead” of the prosecution and begin drafting a winning defense on your behalf immediately.

Never hesitate, as you could risk losing your freedom, career, reputation, money, future job opportunities, and much more.

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