Felonies vs. Misdemeanors

Home/Criminal Defense/Felonies vs. Misdemeanors

Felonies and Misdemeanors in Tennessee

Representing those facing criminal charges in Maryville, Sevierville, Clinton, Lenoir City & Loudon

There are varying degrees to everything; criminal charges are no different. That’s why a kid who’s dared to steal a candy bar from the store doesn’t get lumped into the same category as a person who pulls out a gun, shoot a store clerk, and then robs the register.

But here’s the thing you need to remember: any type of criminal charge is a serious matter. Both misdemeanor and felony convictions can wreak havoc on your personal and professional life. At Banks and Jones, we treat felony and misdemeanor cases with the same level of focus and urgency, always handling a case with the utmost competence and preparedness. We recognize that whether you are facing charges for being drunk in public or for aggravated assault, you need the help our professionals are trained to give. Our lawyers are courtroom veterans who passionately defend your rights at every stage of your case.

A quick look at the differences between felonies and misdemeanors

Simply put, misdemeanors are considered “lesser” crimes than felonies: they’re less violent, do less physical damages, and carry less severe sentences.

The primary difference between misdemeanors and felonies is that misdemeanors are penalized by a year or less in jail and felonies are punishable by more than a year in prison. Jails are municipal short-term detainment facilities, while prisons are long-term, state-run holding facilities. Furthermore, while both misdemeanors and felonies appear on your record, felony convictions can deprive you of certain rights, including your right to bear arms, your right to hold public office and your right to vote.

Types of felonies

In Tennessee, felony crimes are serious offenses punishable by a year or more in prison. Depending on the facts of your case and severity of the crime, you could face other serious penalties, including steep fines and limits to certain liberties, such as your right to possess a firearm. Our adept defense lawyers represent clients accused of committing all types of felony offenses, including:

  • Homicide. Killing another person is a felony charge, no matter the circumstances. In fact, first-degree murder is a capital crime. That means you could be sentenced to death if convicted.
  • Aggravated assault. Aggravated assault is a very serious crime in Tennessee. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you face either Class C or Class D felony charges and could serve as many as 15 years in prison.
  • Rape or sexual assault. Every charge of non-consensual sexual conduct is a felony charge. Every. Single. One. If you’re convicted on these types of charges, you will end up on the national sex offender registry. Though the shortest prison sentence is a year, the longest penalty for a Class A felony – aggravated rape – is 60 years.
  • Burglary. Burglary charges are either a Class E or Class D felony. Aggravated burglary is a Class C felony, and especially aggravated burglary is a Class B felony.
  • Kidnapping. Kidnapping is the false imprisonment of another person. If you’re convicted of kidnapping in Tennessee, you face Class C felony charges.
  • Robbery. Robbery is the act of stealing money or an item of value from a person. The state of Tennessee punishes robbery offenders severely. If you’re convicted of the most basic form of robbery, you could face between three and 15 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
  • Drug trafficking. Get caught with a joint won’t send you to prison. Getting caught with 500 opioid pills while trying to cross state lines, on the other hand, could land you in federal prison.
  • White collar crimes. If you’re charged with fraud or embezzlement or any of the types of charges you hear about on FBI dramas, those are always felony offenses. Like trafficking, they’re also heard in federal court.

If you are charged with any type of felony, seek the assistance of an experienced criminal defense law firm as soon as possible.

Types of misdemeanors

Misdemeanor crimes are lesser offenses and include crimes against public order and public safety and crimes against property. For example, if you are arrested for stealing $500 or less in money or property in the Knoxville area, the prosecution will likely charge you with petty theft — a misdemeanor offense punishable by no more than one year in jail. Similarly, possessing half an ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor crime punishable by one year in jail and a maximum fine of $250.

The different penalties for misdemeanors and felonies

Get sound guidance from a reputable defense law firm

Throughout the Knoxville area, our attorneys at Banks and Jones are known for providing clients with trustworthy criminal defense help. If you or your loved one has been arrested and charged with a felony or misdemeanor, call 865.407.2122 or contact us and speak with an experienced attorney today. Our regular office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with other appointments available upon request.

Contact Banks and Jones

For a FREE consultation to discuss your case
Text Us865-407-2122