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Felonies and Misdemeanors

Difference between Felonies and Misdemeanors in Pennsylvania

In the state of Pennsylvania, misdemeanors refer to serious infractions such as crimes that can land a person in jail for at least a year. This can be either a local jail or a high-security facility based on the seriousness of the misdemeanor.  Pennsylvania categorizes misdemeanors into three sections namely first, second and third-degree misdemeanors with first being the most serious and third being the least serious.

Each of these degrees has its own set of penalties since they have their own set of crimes. However, a court can impose fines, jail time or both in either of these cases.

  • 1st Degree Misdemeanor carries a jail time spanning 5 years and up to $10,000 in fines.
  • 2nd Degree Misdemeanor carries a jail time spanning 2 years and up to $5,000 in fines
  • 3rd Degree Misdemeanor carries a jail time spanning 1 year and up to $2,500 in fines

Felonies are more serious crimes compared to misdemeanors and they are usually defined by their large prison sentences and equally large fines. Anyone who is convicted of a felony in the state of Pennsylvania can have committed a number of crimes society views as abhorrent such as rape, kidnapping, burglar or arson. Courts usually punish such criminals with fines and jail time that matches the severity of their crimes.

Like misdemeanors, felonies committed in Pennsylvania have their own set of penalties depending on their severity. However, as mentioned before, the final sentence can differ from the standard ones of each type of felony:

  • 1st-degree felony carries a jail time spanning at least 20 years and up to $25,000 in fines
  • 2nd-degree felony carries a jail time spanning at least 10 years and up to $25,000 in fines
  • 3rd-degree felony carries a jail time spanning at least 7 years and up to $15,000 in fines

Crimes that are not categorized can carry their own potential sentences but that is usually decided by the court. For instance, a 1st-degree murder conviction can land a criminal in prison for life or they may face the death penalty while a 2nd-degree murder conviction can result in life in prison.

If a criminal has been found to have previous crimes on their record in Pennsylvania, then he/she will have to face additional penalties besides the ones that are standard in the state. For instance, if someone is convicted of a violent crime a second time, then he/she will face 10 years in prison. This can go up to 25 years if the crime is repeated in the future after the individual has served jail time for a previous offense.

Any criminal charge in Pennsylvania can result in brief jail time, fines or a life behind bars depending on its severity. Experienced attorneys can help you create a defense for yourself for the best possible outcome. If you or someone you know is facing a felony or misdemeanor charge and need legal advice, Pennsylvania Attorneys can help you and them with their case.