What Is the Difference Between a Misdemeanor and a Felony?

Columbia criminal law attorneyFacing criminal charges or even being accused of a crime can be a frightening experience. There are so many terms and steps in the legal process that it can quickly get overwhelming. However, having the right criminal law attorney on your side can help you through the complexities of your case.

States divide crimes into two generalized categories: misdemeanors and felonies. Felonies are more serious, while misdemeanors are more minor crimes with smaller penalties. South Carolina has different subcategories of both felonies and misdemeanors.

Misdemeanors are divided up into three classifications, including:

  • Class A: up to three years in jail and fines up to $2,500 (examples include vandalism or threats of physical violence against a minor).
  • Class B: up to two years in jail and fines up to $2,000 (examples include falsifying statements in regards to income to get public housing).
  • Class C: up to one year in jail and fines up to $1,000 (examples include falsifying or altering a transcript or diploma as well as disturbing religious worship).

Felonies are categorized into six different groups, including:

  • Class A: up to 30 years in prison (examples include kidnapping, voluntary manslaughter or attempted murder).
  • Class B: up to 25 years in prison (examples include failure to stop your vehicle when death occurs or second degree arson).
  • Class C: up to 20 years in prison (examples include sexual exploitation of a minor, carjacking or attempted armed robbery).
  • Class D: up to 15 years in prison (examples include making/distributing drugs, third degree arson or second degree burglary).
  • Class E: up to 10 years in prison (examples include causing harm to a child, reckless homicide or first degree sexual misconduct).
  • Class F: up to 5 years in prison (examples include illegal conduct at an election or stalking).

In the state of South Carolina, some crimes are exempt from the classifications discussed here, and come with their own set of penalties. Depending on the crime you’ve committed, you can also face hefty fines upwards of $10,000.

If you or a loved one has committed a crime or is being accused of a crime, attorney Bill Nettles can help. He will review your case to determine the best course of action for you and your family.

To schedule your initial consultation with criminal law attorney Bill Nettles, give our office a call at 803-814-2826. We are proud to serve clients in Columbia, Charleston and the surrounding South Carolina communities.

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