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What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor?

If you have been arrested in Missouri, you might wonder exactly what your charges mean. There are big differences between a felony charge and a misdemeanor criminal offense that you should be aware of. The two different types of charges can have very different sentencing and impacts on your future. Getting a job, joining the military and even applying for an apartment can be effected by having a felony charge or a misdemeanor. Here are the major differences between the two. 

Misdemeanors are the most common types of charges. These are often dictated by the state and include a wide range of offenses. Driving while intoxicated is one of the most common misdemeanor charges in the state. Other misdemeanor offenses include vandalism, breaking and entering and even petty theft. Though misdemeanors can remain on your criminal record, the offense normally will not cost you a job interview of employment elsewhere or that perfect apartment that you have been seeking. Misdemeanors often result in a short jail sentence, a fine and/or community service.    

A felony charge is more complicated than a misdemeanor. A felony occurs when someone breaks a serious law that was set by the government. What can be even more confusing is the thin line between felony and misdemeanor DWI. Committing a felony can have serious consequences. You could spend many years in prison and pay a hefty fine.  

Though it is best to avoid committing either offense, life happens and people do make mistakes. If you have been charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony, it may be beneficial to speak with a criminal law attorney.   

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Travis Noble is a graduate of the National College for DUI Defense at Harvard University, and he lectures at seminars nationwide on DWI/DUI topics. He is the lawyer whom other lawyers consult to defend their DWI clients. Most importantly, he has a track record of successfully defending some of the toughest DWI cases in Missouri and beyond.

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