Legal Guide

U.S. Criminal Justice Simplified: 3 Examples of Felonies and How to Classify Them

The criminal justice system in the U.S. can seem a bit complicated for someone who is not well versed in the law. When a crime is committed, there could be a difference in how it is categorized based on such factors as what the intent of the criminal was, whether there was in fact intent of a criminal nature, or whether a crime was committed due to negligence. If something was stolen, the determination between whether the offense was a felony or a misdemeanor might hinge on the value of what was taken. Before we get too bogged down in semantics, let us examine three examples of felonies, so that you might have a better understanding of these classifications.

What Is The Difference?

In the United States legal system, all crimes are classified as either misdemeanors, which are less severe, and felonies, which are generally considered more egregious. The real distinction between the two, though, has to do with the possible length of sentencing. A misdemeanor carries with it a maximum prison sentence of up to twelve months. A felony is a crime that will get you more than twelve months.


Assault is a crime that is an excellent example of how to show these levels of distinction. If a person was to threaten someone else but not carry through on the threat, they could be charged with a misdemeanor. However, if they followed through on the threat and caused physical harm, especially if a weapon was used during the attack, it is highly likely that the person who inflicted the violence will be charged with a felony.


Theft is another type of crime with varying levels of severity. If you take property or money from another person without their consent, that is called petty theft. It is a misdemeanor. Felony theft, also sometimes called larceny, is what happens when you take property or money from an individual, residence, or establishment that is worth an excess of $500.

Indecent Exposure

If you expose yourself in public, that will usually be considered a misdemeanor, like if you do it in a park or on a bus, for instance. However, if you expose yourself to a child rather than to an adult, that will cause a felony classification, as it is considered more serious to endanger children. This is an example of a crime where the distinction involves the person against whom the crime was perpetrated.  

Always Seek Legal Action If You Are Being Charged With A Crime

If you are uncertain about whether you might be charged with a misdemeanor or felony, it is always possible to get a free consultation today. If you’re not a lawyer yourself, it behooves you to speak to someone who knows the law. They will instruct you on what you are facing, and you can decide if you want to attempt a plea deal. There are so many minute points of emphasis in our legal system that to try and navigate it yourself if you don’t have the training is almost always a mistake.   

More to Read:

comments powered by Disqus