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Published on September 27, 2023

The Differences Between Misdemeanor and Felony Assault

Although over one-third of all adults in America have a criminal record, this does not necessarily indicate that dangerous individuals populate the nation. Misdemeanor records, rather than felonies, comprise most of criminal histories.

About 700,000 of the 2.3 million prisoners detained by the authorities in the U.S. are guilty of violent crimes. However, over 225,000 are serving time for property crimes, and 190,000 are being held for drug offenses.

It might pay to conduct a felony record search on their names if you suspect the wrong kind of folks are residing next door. For people with felony convictions, sealing or deleting evidence of their prior behavior will be practically hard. Still,it is frequently easy for those with minor convictions to conceal them.

What Is A Misdemeanor?

A misdemeanor is a relatively minor offense that is typically not violent. Nevertheless, attacks that do not cause substantial physical harm might be considered misdemeanors. Even though most DUI convictions are misdemeanors, individuals may face felony DUI charges if they have a history of offenses or if somebody is seriously hurt. 

Unlike infractions like speeding tickets, misdemeanors are more serious. They are far less severe than crimes. Typically, misdemeanors come with a probation, fine, or community service requirement. A misdemeanor offense carries a maximum one-year prison sentence, but this is highly improbable.


Local, state, and federal legislation in the U.S. regulate crimes and associated penalties. As a result, the classification of particular acts depends on the precise jurisdiction in which the crime occurred. Most jurisdictions classify less serious crimes or acts without a victim as misdemeanors. 

Vandalism, minor stealing, indecent exposure, trespassing, and simple assault are a few examples of offenses that are some examples of misdemeanors.

What Is A Felony?

The worst types of crimes are felonies. Murder, rape, assault with significant bodily injury, and armed robbery are just a few of the violent crimes frequently occurring among this group. There are several non-violent offenses, like fraud. Numerous sex offenses are considered felonies as well. Penalties for felonies are substantially more severe than those for misdemeanors. In addition, offenders forfeit several civic privileges.


Examples of common felonies include murder, rape, sexual assault, human trafficking, drug trafficking, robbery, etc.

What Is the Difference Between A Felony and A Misdemeanor?

No matter the specific regulations, a misdemeanor usually appears as a lesser offense than a felony and frequently carries less severe penalties. Misdemeanors are typically handled in local and state courts, whereas felonies generally are tried in state or federal tribunals. However, both kinds usually appear on a person’s criminal record.

Even the most minor offenses, like littering or parking infractions, are frequently not regarded as misdemeanors, mainly when there was little or no bodily harm and property damage. The term “infraction” and the term “minor offense” usually describe these kinds of offenses. Typically, municipal or state governments punish infractions, and the most common punishment is a minor fine. They do not frequently appear on someone’s criminal history.

The Bottom Line

The transition from misdemeanor to felony charges is frequently subtle. Legal aid, which sometimes comes for free at courthouses, can assist someone with a minor offense in sealing or having charges removed in most states, effectively clearing their record. Good advocacy can help someone avoid severe punishments.

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