In Wisconsin, the charges that a person faces can generally be divided into two categories. On one side are felonies, and on the other are misdemeanors. Though other categories exist, these are the two a person is most likely to come across. Each can have a vastly different impact, as well.
Defined by Merriam-Webster as a grave crime declared as such by statute, felonies are generally considered the more severe charge of the two. This charge applies to crimes that are considered more severe, more aggravated, and more violent. For example, murder is categorized as a felonious offense. Non-violent crimes that involve the government can also be considered felonies, such as defacing mailboxes, which are government property.
Felony charges usually come with harsher penalties accordingly. This can include longer jail sentences, higher fines, and more restrictions even after a person’s jail sentence has ended.
On the other hand, the Legal Dictionary defines misdemeanors as an offense that is lower than a felony. This can include things like petty theft, traffic violations, disturbing the peace, or DUIs that don’t involve other people. Though these charges also involve penalties like fines and jail time, they are almost always less harsh than the ones people facing felony charges will be sentenced to. Misdemeanor cases are also handled by lower courts, such as justice or municipal courts.
Residents facing either felony or misdemeanor charges still both risk being haunted by them if convicted, however, as they can both impact a person’s ability to get a job, rent an apartment and so on. For this reason, both charges should be taken very seriously.