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The Classification of Criminal Offenses

Handley LLC Dec. 22, 2020

Some of the stages under which criminal laws are laid down in any single state are felonies, misdemeanours, and infractions. Legislators may assess the stage of a separate offence based on factors such as the harshness of an offence, all of the improvements that have taken place, and the overall amount of harm that has occurred. Owing to the certain preparations of the federal law that are for persons with felony convictions, Congress set out further definition for the term "felony" to implement to state-level offences. See a criminal defense attorney for a detailed insight.


The most serious crimes are typically felonies. Criminal offences that can lead to a felony conviction include something that causes or involves significant bodily harm to someone or causes someone to lose their life. If the amount exceeds such requirements to be called a felony, it will be classified as crime-related theft or fraud. They are commonly regarded as illegal white-collar schemes, too. Even if an offence is not deemed a crime, repeat offenders convicted of a crime under a particular situation.


Misdemeanours are offences that do not increase to a felony's severity. They are smaller offences for which the maximum term in prison is 12 months or less. Within the seriousness of the crime lies the difference between misdemeanours and felonies. Aggravated assault (for example, beating someone with a baseball bat) is a felony, while a misdemeanour is a simple battery (slapping someone in the face).

But in some cases, certain offences that are commonly classified as misdemeanours in the courts will escalate to the level of a felony. For instance, possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanour in some states, but possession of more than an ounce is known as possession with the purpose of distributing and is viewed as a crime.


Infraction is offences for which imprisonment time is not usually a possible punishment. Sometimes referred to as minor offences, offences are often punishable by fines, which can be paid without ever going to court.

Local laws or legislation enacted as a deterrent to unsafe or nuisance activity, such as setting speed limits in school zones, traffic laws, no parking zones, or anti-noise rules are most infractions. Infractions can also involve running a company without the correct license or disposing of garbage improperly.

An offence can in certain circumstances, rise to the level of a more serious crime. Running a stop sign may be a minor offence, but it is a more serious offence not to stop for the sign and cause harm or injury.

Contact a Lawyer

It can be profoundly frightening to face criminal charges. You don't have to go alone through it. Talk to an attorney, like a criminal defense attorney in OKC to get a better understanding of what your legal choices are, regardless of whether you are charged with a misdemeanour, a felony, or even a traffic violation.

** Disclaimer: This blog article is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.