Difference Between Misdemeanors and Felonies

Understanding the Difference Between Misdemeanors and Felonies in Nevada

Decoding Nevada's Legal System: Misdemeanors vs Felonies

When it comes to understanding the legal system in Nevada, it’s important to know the difference between two key terms: misdemeanors and felonies.

These are types of crimes, but they are very different in terms of their severity and the consequences they carry.

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What is a Misdemeanor?

A misdemeanor is a less severe type of crime. Examples might include shoplifting, trespassing, or minor traffic violations. In Nevada, misdemeanors are usually punishable by a fine or a short jail term. This jail term is typically less than one year and is served in a local or county jail, not a state or federal prison.

There are two types of misdemeanors in Nevada:

  1. Gross misdemeanors are more serious than regular misdemeanors but not as severe as felonies. Examples might include stalking or certain types of theft. Gross misdemeanors in Nevada can be punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine.
  2. Simple misdemeanors: These are less serious offenses. Examples include jaywalking or littering. These are usually punishable by a fine.


What is a Felony?

A felony is a more severe type of crime.

Examples include murder, robbery, and sexual assault. In Nevada, felonies are punishable by a year or more in state or federal prison. They also carry heavier fines than misdemeanors.

Felonies in Nevada are divided into several categories, from Category A to Category E, with Category A being the most serious.

The Category determines the severity of the punishment.

Key Differences Between Misdemeanors and Felonies

Here are some of the main differences between misdemeanors and felonies in Nevada:

  • Severity: Felonies are more serious offenses than misdemeanors.
  • Punishment: Felonies carry heavier punishments, including longer prison terms and more significant fines.
  • Where time is served: If jail time is given, misdemeanor sentences are usually served in a local or county jail. Felony sentences are served in a state or federal prison.
  • Future consequences: A felony on your record can affect your life in many ways. It can make getting a job, finding housing, or even voting harder. While misdemeanors can also have consequences, they are usually less severe.


Delving Deeper: The Impact of Misdemeanors and Felonies on Your Life

The Long-Term Effects of a Criminal Record in Nevada

While it’s essential to understand the fundamental difference between misdemeanors and felonies, it’s also crucial to understand the long-term impact these types of crimes can have on your life.

The Impact of Misdemeanors

Even though misdemeanors are considered less severe crimes, they can still significantly affect your life. Here are some potential consequences:

  • Criminal Record: Even a simple misdemeanor can result in a criminal record, which is public information and can be found by anyone who does a background check on you.
  • Employment: Some employers may hesitate to hire someone with a criminal record, even for a misdemeanor.
  • Housing: Some landlords may not rent to someone with a misdemeanor conviction.
  • Professional Licensing: Some professional licenses may be more complicated if you have a misdemeanor.


The Impact of Felonies

The consequences of felonies are even more severe and long-lasting. They include:

  • Incarceration: Felonies usually come with longer prison sentences.
  • Fines: The fines for felonies can be significant and may cause financial hardship.
  • Loss of Rights: In some cases, convicted felons lose certain rights, such as the right to vote, the right to own a firearm, and, in some states, the right to hold public office.
  • Employment and Housing: As with misdemeanors, having a felony on your record can make finding a job or housing much harder. Many employers and landlords conduct background checks and may not want to hire or rent to someone with a felony conviction.
  • Professional Licensing: A felony on your record can make obtaining specific professional licenses difficult or even impossible.
  • Immigration Consequences: For non-U.S. citizens, a felony conviction can have serious immigration consequences, including deportation.


Why You Have Not Hired a Felony Defense Attorney Yet

Watch this short video to take the next big step toward defending your rights against a felony charge.

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Breaking It All Down for You

While the immediate consequences of misdemeanors and felonies are clear – fines, imprisonment, etc., the long-term effects can be much more significant.

They can affect your ability to find a job, secure housing, and even your rights.

That’s why it’s so important to understand the legal system and the charges you’re facing.

If you’re ever accused of a crime, whether a misdemeanor or a felony, you should seek legal counsel to protect your rights and your future.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What happens after a misdemeanor or felony conviction in Nevada?

After a conviction, the court will determine your sentence based on the severity of the crime and any prior criminal history. This could range from paying a fine to probation to time in jail or prison. You will also have a criminal record, which can impact many areas of your life.

Can a misdemeanor be expunged in Nevada?

Yes, Nevada law allows for expunging or sealing certain criminal records, including misdemeanors. This can make the record hidden from most background checks. However, the process can be complex and may require the assistance of an attorney.

What are the categories of felonies in Nevada?

Felonies in Nevada are categorized into five groups, from Category A to Category E. Category A felonies are the most serious and can include crimes like murder, while Category E felonies are the least serious.

How does a felony affect voting rights in Nevada?

Nevada law allows individuals convicted of a felony to have their voting rights automatically restored upon release from prison. However, laws can change, so double-checking the most current regulations is always a good idea.

Can a felony be reduced to a misdemeanor in Nevada?

In some cases, it may be possible to have a felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor, often through a plea bargain. This is generally more likely with lower-level felonies. An attorney can provide guidance based on the specifics of the case.

What is considered a traffic misdemeanor in Nevada?

Traffic misdemeanors in Nevada can include things like reckless driving, driving without a license, or a first or second DUI offense. These crimes are less severe than felonies but can still carry fines and potential jail time.

What is the process if I’m charged with a felony in Nevada?

If you’re charged with a felony, you’ll typically be arrested and jailed. You’ll then have an arraignment where the charges against you will be read, and you will be asked to enter a plea. Depending on the case, there may be pre-trial hearings, a trial, and a sentencing if you’re found guilty.

What should I do if I’m charged with a misdemeanor or felony in Nevada?

If you’re charged with a crime, seeking legal representation as soon as possible is essential. An attorney can help you understand the charges against you, guide you through the legal process, and work to protect your rights.

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  • Misdemeanor: A misdemeanor is a less severe crime than a felony. It often results in a fine or short jail term.
  • Gross Misdemeanor: A gross misdemeanor is a more severe crime than a simple misdemeanor but less severe than a felony. It can result in a year in jail and a fine.
  • Felony: A felony is a serious crime that often results in a lengthy prison term and hefty fines.
  • Criminal Record: A criminal record is a record the government keeps showing a person’s criminal history. It can include arrests, charges, and convictions.
  • ExpungementExpungement is legally destroying, sealing, or striking out records or information in files, computers, and other depositories relating to criminal charges.
  • Plea Bargain: A plea bargain is a negotiated agreement between a prosecutor and a criminal defendant whereby the defendant pleads guilty in return for a concession from the prosecutor.
  • Traffic Misdemeanor: A traffic misdemeanor is a violation of traffic laws that is considered more severe than a traffic infraction but less severe than a felony.
  • Arraignment: Arraignment is a court proceeding in which a criminal defendant is formally advised of the charges against him and is asked to plea.
  • Pre-Trial HearingsPre-trial hearings are court appearances that occur before a trial. They provide an opportunity for the parties to plan the conduct of the trial.
  • Sentencing is the post-conviction stage in the criminal justice process when the defendant is brought before the court to impose a penalty.
  • Conviction: A conviction is a formal declaration that someone is guilty of a criminal offense, made by a jury’s verdict or a judge’s decision in a court of law.
  • IncarcerationIncarceration is the state of being confined in prison.


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Additional Resources for You

We would like to remind our readers that in addition to her extensive legal expertise, our lead attorney, Molly Rosenblum Allen, Esq., has also developed a range of valuable resources designed to assist you during challenging times. These resources cover a variety of legal topics and provide insights into complex areas of the law. Here are some of the resources available:

  1. Double Jeopardy: Understand the legal concept of being tried twice for the same offense and its implications. Find more information here.

  2. Hung Jury: Discover what happens when a jury cannot agree on a verdict and how it affects a legal case. Learn more here.

  3. Circumstantial Evidence: Explore how indirect evidence can be used in court and its role in proving a defendant’s guilt or innocence. Details available here.

  4. Indicted vs Charged: Understand the differences between being indicted and being charged, and the legal processes involved. More information can be found here.

  5. Difference Between Jail and Prison: Learn about the distinctions between these two types of detention facilities and what life is like in each. Read more here.

  6. What are Miranda Rights: Get informed about your rights when being questioned by police and how they protect you. Further details are available here.

  7. How to Check if You Have an Outstanding Warrant: Find out the steps to determine if there’s an outstanding warrant for your arrest. Learn how to check here.

  8. What to Look for in a Criminal Defense Lawyer: Gain insights into choosing the right legal representation for your case. More information here.

  9. Possible Ways to Reduce a Felony Charge: Understand the options available that might reduce the severity of a felony charge. Find out more here.

  10. Should You Accept a Plea Bargain: Explore the pros and cons of accepting a plea bargain and how it can impact your case. Learn more here.

We encourage our readers to utilize these resources for a better understanding of the legal system and to find guidance during legal proceedings.

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Offsite Resources You May Find Helpful

Here are some offsite resources that you may find useful:

  1. American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): A national organization that provides information on civil liberties issues, including criminal justice and the rights of defendants.

  2. National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL): An organization that provides resources for criminal defense lawyers, but also has information useful to the public about criminal law.

  3. The Innocence Project: An organization dedicated to exonerating wrongly convicted individuals through the use of DNA testing.

  4. United States Department of Justice: The DOJ’s website provides information on a wide range of legal topics, including criminal law.

  5. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI): The FBI’s website has information about the types of crimes the federal government investigates, and resources on crime prevention and victim assistance.

  6. Legal Information Institute (LII) at Cornell Law School: This resource provides easy-to-understand information on a wide range of legal topics, including criminal law.

  7. FindLaw: A comprehensive legal website that provides information on a variety of legal topics, including criminal law, and also offers a directory of lawyers by specialty.

Remember, while these resources can provide valuable information, they are not a substitute for personalized legal advice. Always consult with a qualified attorney for advice on your specific situation.

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A Special Message From Our Lead Attorney

Headshot of Molly Rosenblum Allen, attorney at law, with long blond hair and wearing a black blazer. Molly Rosenblum Allen is the founder and managing attorney of Rosenblum Allen Law.

Molly Rosenblum, Esq

Dear Reader,

Thank you for taking the time to explore these resources. I understand that involvement in a legal matter can be overwhelming, and I aim to provide you with the most accurate and helpful information possible.

Everyone deserves access to quality legal representation; part of that is being well-informed about the process you’re facing. I hope that these resources have helped you gain a better understanding of the complexities of criminal law.

If you or a loved one are dealing with legal issues, I invite you to contact our team. We offer a free consultation to discuss your case and explore your options moving forward. You can schedule this consultation by calling us at (702) 433-2889.

Remember, you don’t have to face these challenges alone. Our team is ready to stand with you and fight for your rights.

Thank you once again for your time. I look forward to assisting you.

Warm Regards,

Molly Rosenblum, Esq.

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