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Law | Felony | Misdemeanor
Criminal law deals with those
statutes involving crimes against the public and
individuals with penalties and all the procedures
connected with charging, trying, sentencing and
imprisoning defendants convicted of crimes. The
harm that criminal law aims to prevent varies:
it may be physical harm, death, or bodily injury
to human beings; the loss of or damage to property;
sexual immorality; danger to the government; disturbance
of the public peace and order; or injury to the
Behavior that threatens to cause, but has not
yet caused, a harmful result may be enough to
constitute a crime. Thus, Criminal law often strives
to avoid harm by forbidding conduct that may lead
to harmful results.
Criminal law involves prosecution by the government
of a person for an act that has been classified
as a crime. Crimes are classified in many different
ways: common law crimes versus statutory crimes,
and crimes that are evil in themselves versus
those that are criminal only because the law says
so. An important classification is the division
of crimes into felonies or misdemeanors. This
distinction is based on the severity of the crime
and is rooted in common law. Persons convicted
of a crime may be incarcerated, fined, or both
if the prosecution proves them guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of every fact presented in the courtroom.
San Bernardino Criminal Lawyers
A Felony is a crime carrying
a minimum term of one year or more in state prison,
since a year or less can be served in county jail.
However, a sentence upon conviction for a felony
may sometimes be less than one year at the discretion
of the judge and within limits set by statute.
Felonies are sometimes referred to as "high
crimes" as described in the U.S. Constitution.
A Misdemeanor is a lesser crime
punishable by a fine and/or county jail time for
up to one year. Misdemeanors are distinguished
from felonies, which can be punished by a state
prison term. They are tried in the lowest local
court such as municipal, police or justice courts.
Typical misdemeanors include: petty theft, disturbing
the peace, simple assault and battery, drunk driving
without injury to others, drunkenness in public,
various traffic violations, public nuisances and
some crimes which can be charged either as a felony
or misdemeanor depending on the circumstances
and the discretion of the District Attorney.