When a person is arrested, this almost always means they will face some sort of charge. Sometimes, a person who is placed under arrest ends up facing multiple charges. However, it is important to understand that there is a difference between a misdemeanor and a felony. Here, we want to review misdemeanors and felonies in Pennsylvania. We will discuss the difference in the severity of the two, examine some of the most common charges at each level, and talk about the importance of working with an attorney if you have been arrested.
What is a Misdemeanor?
Misdemeanor charges are generally considered less serious offenses in Pennsylvania. Because they are considered less serious, the punishments associated with misdemeanors are usually less severe than the punishments associated with felonies. However, misdemeanors are considered more serious than “summary offenses” that are typically punished by fines and not jail time.
However, that does not mean that these offenses should not be taken seriously. Misdemeanors in Pennsylvania are split into three levels (with some examples of crimes at each level):
- First degree. Punishable by up to five years of incarceration and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Possession of a controlled substance
- DUI offenses
- Theft of property worth less than $2000 but more than $200
- Second degree. Up to two years in jail and a fine of no more than $5000.
- Impersonating a public servant
- Simple assault
- Theft of property worth less than $200 but more than $50
- Third degree. Up to one year in jail and a fine of no more than $2500.
- Defiant trespass
- Possession of marijuana
- Disorderly conduct
- Theft of property worth less than $50
What is a Felony?
Felonies are the most serious crimes that a person can commit in Pennsylvania. These are defined as crimes that involve serious physical harm victims as well as other serious nonviolent crimes, such as white-collar and drug offenses.
Felonies in Pennsylvania are also split into three levels (with some examples of crimes at each level):
- First degree. Up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
- Burglary of a home
- Arson that endangers other people
- Assault with serious bodily harm
- Theft of property worth more than $500,000
- Second degree. Up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
- Burglary of a commercial property
- Assault with a deadly weapon with no injury
- Aggravated indecent assault
- Aggravated assault
- Statutory sexual assault
- Theft of property worth less than $500,000 but more than $100,000
- Third degree. Up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
- Carrying a gun without a permit and other firearm offenses
- Possession of narcotics with intent to distribute
- Possession of child pornography
- Theft of property worth less than $100,000 but more than $2000
Working With an Attorney Today
The difference between a felony and a misdemeanor in Pennsylvania comes down to the scale of the crimes involved. As you can see from the list above, penalties for felonies are far more severe than those for misdemeanors.
If you or somebody you love is facing any type of criminal charge, you need to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. A skilled criminal defense lawyer in Pennsylvania will be able to help you throughout your entire case. They will make sure that you do and say the right things from the moment you are arrested until the moment your case reaches a conclusion.