Tennessee criminal codes and regulations can be difficult to understand when dealing with the legal system. Whether you’re a first offender or have visited the courtroom a handful of times, breaking the law isn’t something to take lightly. One of the things a majority of the public remains confused about is the difference between misdemeanors and felonies.
In this blog, the attorneys at Andrew Beasley will walk you through the difference between the two and explain how each can affect you if you’re convicted.
What is a Misdemeanor?
A misdemeanor is a criminal act committed in violation of the laws of Tennessee (or any state for that matter). Each state has its own set of guidelines and rules surrounding misdemeanors, but convictions in Tennessee can hold as much weight as eleven months in jail, depending on the crime committed.
Just as any other criminal offense stays on your record, misdemeanors stay on your record for a minimum of seven years. If you’re convicted of a misdemeanor more than twice, the third conviction could be moved up to a felony offense.
Types of Misdemeanors
According to Tennessee Code Title 40, misdemeanors are classified into three categories: Class A, Class B, and Class C. Though Class A misdemeanors are the most serious of the three, each of these categories can land you in some form of trouble with the law. Whether a rowdy night with friends ended in a public intoxication charge or you tried to slip an item out of your favorite clothing store, misdemeanors are consequential crimes that should be taken seriously.
If convicted of a Class A misdemeanor, you could face jail time of up to eleven months, with additional fines as high as $2,500. Examples of misdemeanors in this category include stalking, theft, first-time DUIs, restraining order violations, and drug possession.
Class B misdemeanors are punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of $500. B-class misdemeanors include but are not limited to reckless driving, prostitution, and indecent exposure.
Known as the mildest of punishments for misdemeanors, a class C conviction could lead to up to 30 days in jail and a fine of $50 or less. Public intoxication, disorderly conduct, speeding, and using a fake ID are all punishable as a class C misdemeanor in Tennessee.
What is a Felony?
Felony crimes are serious offenses, typically involving an element of violence, punishable by a year or more in prison. Depending on the severity of the crime, you could face other significant penalties, including steep fines and limits to certain liberties—driving a vehicle and owning a firearm, for example. Felonies are some of the most serious crimes a person can commit, such as first-degree murder and arson.
Some examples of acts punishable by a felony conviction include:
- Aggravated assault
- Sexual assault
When you’re convicted of a felony, there are specific privileges you can lose. A felony conviction will cost you more than a hefty fine (up to $50,000) and jail time. You’ll ultimately lose your right to privacy, as well as several other freedom benefits. These can include the right to vote, potential job offers, federal funding for a college education, the right to travel to other countries, and more.
Andrew Beasley: Fighting For Your Rights, Freedom, & Future
Getting in trouble with the law is no joking matter, and at Andrew Beasley, we take every case as seriously as the last. When it comes to misdemeanor and felony convictions, it’s important to have the proper legal representation. At Andrew Beasley, we work hard to ensure that client rights are protected and their interests are always at the forefront of our legal process.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a misdemeanor or felony, contact the attorneys at Andrew Beasley today to handle your case extensively and thoroughly. In some cases, our skilled criminal defense attorneys can help you get felony charges reduced to misdemeanors, depending on the case's unique circumstances.
The Trusted Attorneys in Nashville, TN
Named among the nation’s top 100 trial lawyers, Andrew Beasley is the experienced criminal defense lawyer you can rely on. We have handled thousands of cases and know what it takes to protect your rights and professionally represent you. Whether you are a first-offender or know the court system well, Andrew Beasley's attorneys are here to walk you through the legal processes and explain what happens next.