Felony Vs. Misdemeanor Conviction: What’s the Difference?

What’s the difference between felonies and misdemeanors?

The criminal justice system divides crimes into two broad categories: felonies and misdemeanors. While any criminal charge can critically impact your life, felony convictions result in much harsher penalties and significant collateral consequences unrelated to the criminal justice system. This can include loss of voting rights, loss of the right to own firearms, bars to certain types of employment, and deportation if you are not a citizen.

Have you been charged with a misdemeanor or felony? Thomas A. Corletta, Attorney at Law has created a guide to ensure potential clients are aware of what’s to come. Based in Rochester, NY, Thomas A. Corletta, Attorney at Law provides experienced criminal law representation you can trust.

What Are Misdemeanors?

While misdemeanors have consequences, such as jail or probation, they are less severe than felonies, and usually do not result in incarceration. In New York, Class A Misdemeanor crimes are punishable by up to one year in jail and fines of up to $1,000. Probation is also possible in some circumstances.

Misdemeanors are the largest category of criminal offenses and can involve many different types of charges. Examples of misdemeanors include:


A DWI charge can come with a great deal of stress and confusion. Although a misdemeanor charge, the penalties for conviction have become more severe over the years, and in New York, carry mandatory penalties, such as fines, license revocations, and Ignition Interlock.

Petty Larceny

If an individual steals an item or items worth less than $1,000.00, it is considered a Petit Larceny charge. If a person is charged with Petit Larceny, they can face fines, probation, or incarceration. For first time offenders, there is rarely a conviction and usually just Community Service.

Assault Third Degree

Assault Third Degree is a misdemeanor in New York. These cases usually involve physical injury that does not rise to the level of serious physical injury, and typically involves minor cuts, bruises, and swelling.

Have you been charged with a misdemeanor? You deserve a top-notch representation to minimize the risk of a harsher punishment.

What Is a Felony?

More serious criminal offenses, such as serious physical injury, forcible stealing, drug possession or sex crimes, are considered felonies. Depending upon the grade of the crime, felonies are punishable by terms of more than one year in prison, up to life. Fines for felony convictions can be $5,000 or more.

Crimes like murder, rape, robbery, assault, and arson are considered felonies. Theft can be a felony if you steal property worth more than $1,000. Some misdemeanors, such as DWI, can be elevated to felonies if you have prior convictions for the same offense. It is essential to hire a criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and achieve the best possible result.

As aforementioned, felony convictions can also have collateral consequences, such as loss of certain civil rights and deportation if you are a non-citizen.

What To Do After Being Charged With a Felony

After being charged with a felony, it is essential to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. A criminal defense attorney will be able to provide you with the guidance and support you need to navigate the criminal justice system.

Your attorney can also negotiate with prosecutors on your behalf and potentially have your charges reduced or even dismissed altogether, particularly if there is some defect in the case. If you go to trial, your attorney will fight aggressively and protect and enforce all your rights, including all applicable defenses.

Don’t risk your freedom by going up against the prosecution alone. Thomas A. Corletta, Attorney at Law has over 40 years experience handling all types of felony cases in New York.

Are You Facing Criminal Charges?

If you’ve been accused of a crime in Rochester or the surrounding area, trust Thomas A. Corletta, Attorney & Counselor at Law, to provide the aggressive and innovative representation you deserve. Mr. Corletta has served as a criminal defense attorney has over 40 years and continues fighting for the rights of defendants facing a wide range of charges and has built a reputation for delivering aggressive representation and exceptional results. Visit our website for more on his criminal defense services.