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The difference between misdemeanors and felonies in Massachusetts

On Behalf of | Aug 11, 2022 | General Criminal Defense

Being accused of any crime in Massachusetts can have a major impact on your personal and professional life, and it gets much worse following a conviction. Any criminal conviction should be taken seriously, but it’s important to understand how the law ranks the severity of charges, including the difference between misdemeanors and felonies.

Felony crimes

Under Massachusetts law, crimes that are punishable by a state prison sentence or death are considered felonies. Oftentimes there are mandatory sentences that dictate how long a prison sentence will last.

Some examples of felonies include aggravated assault, certain drug crimes and embezzlement. If you are convicted of a felony crime, you could lose many of your rights – some of them permanently. Depending on type of crime you are convicted of, it could result in the loss of your voting rights and the loss of the right to own a firearm. Of course, a felony conviction has the capacity to impact your professional life and personal reputation as a whole.

Misdemeanor crimes

Under Massachusetts law, misdemeanors include those crimes that are punishable by up to 2.5 years in jail, rather than state prison. Misdemeanors are also usually prosecuted in District Court. Disorderly conduct and malicious destruction of property are two examples of misdemeanors.

While misdemeanor crimes have lesser penalties compared to felonies, they should still be taken seriously. The presence of a criminal record alone can affect your daily life, your career and your future prospects. You want to avoid being convicted of a misdemeanor crime so you can protect your rights and interests.

Having professional legal help can help ensure a criminal charge, whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony, does not stand in the way of your professional life and personal prospects.